Said Zuhair Al-Jazairy from the Iraqi Journalists’ Union fears the press freedoms gained since the fall of Saddam are under threat.
He told the recent TUC conference on solidarity with Iraqi unions that: “The occupation is bad but we have the freedom to speak and to write. We can even criticise corruption in the government. Most of us are still careful about what we write. We don’t want to give support to the terrorists or be accused of doing so.”
He added: “I cannot say for sure there’s a mood to extend these freedoms. There may be increasing military and theocratic pressures inside this and future governments. They may wish to restrict us by, for instance, restricting our representation of women in line with religious teachings.”
“We will have to struggle to maintain freedom of the press and a strong union will help.”
He added: “Only this week, the Government interfered in our internal affairs after some member asked them to because they feared financial irregularities. This shows how far we have to go not only to protect our freedoms but also to develop the type of union attitudes which solves our own problems and does not expect governments to do it for us.” (Jane Ashworth)