Media in Iraq needs good legal frameworks to work in independence and impartiality

The UNESCO led worldwide celebrations for World Press Freedom Day 2015 saw yesterday afternoon, Monday 4 May, at Iraq’s Council of Representatives another high-level event attended by Speaker Salam Al-Jabouri, the Chairs of the Council’s Committees for Media and Culture, and for Human Rights and many elected representatives.

In his opening speech, Speaker of the Parliament Dr Salam Al Jabouri said: “Freedom of expression and freedom of opinion are at the basis of an independent and free press, which was at the core of the democratic transformation witnessed by Iraq. Now we must ensure that the rule of law and respect for a human’s rights including his/her  political, cultural, economic, social and civil freedoms are ensured on the basis of justice and equality without discrimination of their religion, beliefs or  gender.”

In his remarks, UNESCO Representative to Iraq, Axel Plathe said:  “World Press Freedom Day is an occasion to remember that journalism is the conscience of democracy. The many debates that the Council of Representatives has conducted on media related issues bear witness that you all recognize the need of good legal frameworks for media to work in independence and impartiality. Your responsibility is great, to ensure that the five draft media related laws that you are presently debating – on freedom of expression, on the right of access to information, on cyber crime, on the Iraqi Media Network and on the Communications and the Media Committee – are in line with international standards”.

UNESCO’s Programme for Parliamentarians provides a framework to aims to ensure that UNESCO’s values and objectives as well as internationally recognized values and objectives are reflected in national policy-making and legislation.

UNESCO and the Office of the Speaker has had initial discussions on how to formalize this partnership and further discussion will take place in the near future to further strengthen this partnership.