Thursday, January 23, 2014

Who’s Afraid of Free Speech?

In Memory of Kawa Germyani, Kiomars Mansoori and other journalists who were killed after revealing some inconvenient  truth...

More than three months has passed since the journalist Kawa Germyani was shot dead in his house and in front of his mother, but no one has been brought to justice.

Kawa Ahmed Germyani, the editor-in-chief of Rayal magazine and a correspondent for Awene newspaper is not the first journalist killed in a  the region that claims is free and democratic. Do killers enjoy impunity in the region?

Everybody was appalled by the news and foreign media reported the event.

“And while the Kurdish region in the north often promotes itself as safer and more respectful of human rights than the rest of Iraq, it has been sharply criticised by rights groups for infringing on free speech,” AFP News agency reported.

Germyani’s murder is not only an attack on a human being’s life but also a war on freedom of expression. If KRG does not show his strong support for the victims of free speech, they would be giving into the accusations of nepotisms and corruption.

The world is watching and if the KRG does not get to the roots of this killing, their credibility will be questioned. 

The killing is, of course, meant to cause intimidation and frighten other journalists from investigating corruption.

If the opponents of the journalist believe he is distorting the truth, the effective reaction would be to write reasonable responses and confront the mistakes or misrepresentations. Killing the journalist, however, only proves that he is telling the truth.

Truth will get a chance to appear only when both sides get to tell their stories without fearing their lives. The government of a region that prides itself on democracy should do everything in its power to bring the murderers to justice to make sure democracy will thrive.

Democracy is not a state a nation would achieve overnight and by changing the government. Respect for beliefs, even those who threaten one’s interest, is a process that we need to practice. This can be taught at schools and kindergartens and the head of the government should be a role model for this matter.

In order for people to restore their hope in the democratic government of a free Kurdistan, KRG needs to straightly state they take the freedom of expression seriously and this is not less important to them than economic growth of the region.

KRG needs to update the public about the steps they are taking to investigate the murder or the consequences of neglecting such an important matter would be dire.

Kiomars Mansoori is a Kurdish journalist who lost his battle with cancer. Since he could not afford his medical bills to go to Europe, he lost his life at a young age.

 His death even though, different from Germyani’s, is another witness to the poor financial situation in which the journalists live.

The cultural contributors of the region are no less constructive than financial contributors of the region and need to be treasured and secured. 
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