Prof. Dr Saman Fawzi at the Department of Law at the
University of Human Development raised the issue of founding a special court
for journalism and media cases in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in a seminar he
delivered on Wednesday, 26th October 2022.
The title of his presentation was: The experience of the
Iraqi Publication and Media Court and its suitability to the Kurdistan Region. Dr Saman
talked about the experience of a court for journalism cases in Baghdad some
years ago and argued that it was successful. He said that the court was
suspended for a few years and that there is a plan now to revive it and expand
it to two more cities in Iraq. He explained that the suspension period was for
the reason of evaluation and correcting
the wrongs so that the court would come back with more strength and power.
He clarified that
journalists were happy with the way the journalism court in Bagdad was handling
the cases. That court was also considering the international standards for freedom
of expression and journalism in its rulings.
His point was to create such a court in the Kurdistan Region. So far, lawsuits related to media are first filed with Investigation
Court then they go to Misdemeanour
Court, or they are first heard in the Court of First Instance if the matter involves
Journalists often criticise court rulings in Kurdistan. They describe
them as unfair and that they do not
make them secure or feel protected by the law.
Dr Saman explained the
advantages of having a special court for journalism and media cases but also
spoke of some challenges. He said that despite all the uncertainties and
concerns, opening such a court will be a step forward and will improve the
situation for free press in Kurdistan in the long run.