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Ruling party threat to press freedom in Iraqi Kurdistan

first_img News News Receive email alerts RSF_en December 28, 2020 Find out more The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which is headed by the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Massoud Barzani, has been waging a hate campaign for the past week against Lvin Magazine, accusing it of besmirching the memory of Barzani’s father, the late Kurdish nationalist leader Mullah Mostafa Barzani.The KDP’s supporters are on the warpath and are threatening all sorts of terrible things if they do not get a public apology. The KDP has also brought a libel action against Rojname, an opposition weekly, over an article accusing the party of corruption.“Both of these cases pose a very disturbing threat to press freedom in Iraqi Kurdistan,” Reporters Without Borders said. “There are many red lines that journalists must not try to cross, there are many subjects that are off-limits and Mostafa Barzani, an historic figure, is clearly one of them. We are extremely worried, especially by the death threats that have been made against Lvin’s journalists. Two journalists have already been murdered in the past two years.”The press freedom organisation added: “We appeal for calm. The KDP’s leaders must accept that they have a duty to talk sense into their supporters or else the situation will get out of control. The regional government also has a duty to protect journalists working in Iraqi Kurdistan. Politicians must learn to distinguish between defamation and criticism. And the lawsuit against Rojname is absurd. Would the KDP dare to sue the New York Times, which the first to report what Rojname reported?” News News Raid on Hawdam Magazine Gunmen went to the headquarters of the newspaper Hawdam in Erbil on 31 July claiming they had been authorised to carry out a search. “But they were unable to show us the authorisation,” editor Rekan Sabah said. The newspaper reportedly supports Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Follow the news on Iraq August 10, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Ruling party threat to press freedom in Iraqi Kurdistan Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan IraqMiddle East – North Africa KDP sues Rojname over smuggling allegations A report published in Rojname on 20 July accused the KDP and its ruling coalition partner, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), of helping to smuggle refined petroleum products into Iran in violation of the international sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic by the UN Security Council. The article accused the KDP and PUK of collecting 250,000 dollars a month each in kickbacks.The KDP sued Rojname for 1 billion dollars in damages on 25 July and demanded its closure. “This lawsuit is one more example of the KDP’s attempts to gag independent and opposition journalists,” Rojname editor Azad Chalak told Reporters Without Borders. “The authorities do not want other voices to make themselves heard, especially when they expose the authoritarian system’s inner workings and corruption.”“We have all the documents to prove what is said in the article,” Chalak added. “There can be no doubt about the fact that we are going to win.” The allegations that the PUK and KDP were collecting kickbacks from the contraband in petroleum products was first reported by the New York Times in its 8 July issue.The amount of damages demanded is the biggest in the history of lawsuits against news media anywhere in Iraq, including Kurdistan. The 2007 press law in force in Iraqi Kurdistan does not allow a court to close down a news media and limits the amount of damages that can be demanded to 3 million dinars. But the KDP asked for Rojname to be tried under the 1969 Iraqi criminal code.The trial, which Chalak regards as highly political, opened on 8 August in Erbil but Rojname’s lawyers would rather the case were heard in Sulaymaniyah where the newspaper is based. “We have doubts about the independence of the courts in Erbil,” Chalak said. “In Erbil, judges cannot issue a ruling without getting a green light from the KDP first. A trial of this kind cannot for one moment be regarded as fair. If it is held in Erbil, we will fear for our lives. We have asked for the case to be moved to Sulaymaniyah.”The court’s decision on where the case should be tried is due to be issued on 23 August. The KDP is meanwhile reportedly pressuring the court to impose a travel ban on Chalak and the journalist who wrote the article, Sirwan Rasheed.Launched in 2007 by the company Wisha, Rojname is nowadays the main mouthpiece of the opposition Movement for Change. to go further February 15, 2021 Find out more IraqMiddle East – North Africa Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” Organisation Hate campaign against Lvin over article criticising historic figure The offending article in Lvin Magazine, published on 1 August, consisted of an interview with a student, Irfan Qani’ Fard, who is currently preparing a thesis at Harvard University on modern Kurdish history. In the interview, Fard criticised Mostafa Barzani, one of the earliest leaders of the KDP and a dominant figure on the Kurdish political stage until his death in 1979.Fard said his research into British and US archives showed that Mostafa Barzani, when commander of the army of the Republic of Mahabad, a short-lived Kurdish political entity founded in December 1945, was encouraged by the British to help bring down the republic and betray its president, Qazi Muhammad, who was hanged by Iranian troops in 1946 when they recovered the region after a Soviet withdrawal.Fard also said his research showed that it was the Iranian intelligence services that placed Mostafa Barzani at the head of a Kurdish revolution in 1961.The publication of the interview triggered a wave of attacks on the newspaper and its staff that has grown in virulence.The newspaper’s editor, Ahmed Mira, told Reporters Without Borders: “Lvin Magazine interviewed the student in a neutral and professional manner. The staff is in no way responsible for the comments this historian made during the interview. Soon after its publication, Lvin and its journalists were the target of serious direct and indirect threats from the KDP. The attacks took various forms. They included death threats. They promised to make us pay.”Leaflets attacking Lvin and its journalists began being distributed by party supporters on the streets of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. The KDP daily newspaper Khabat ran a similar message the next day with explicit threats against Lvin’s staff (see copies of these threatening messages).Pro-KDP mullahs publicly attacked Lvin and its journalists in their Friday sermons on 5 August, accusing them of blasphemy against Islam and urging the population to demonstrate against the newspaper. Some even called for physical attacks on its staff.“All these threats were made because we published an interview in which a researcher dared to criticise what the official version of Kurdish history has to say about Mullah Mostafa Barzani,” said Mira, who added that Lvin’s journalists had ceased to be protected by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) despite being citizens of Iraqi Kurdistan.Mira announced on 8 August that he had filed a complaint against Massoud Barzani as KRG president and as leader of the KDP because of the murderous appeals issued by KDP organisations and media. Help by sharing this information RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” December 16, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

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Senate Banking Committee Discusses Regulatory Burden on Community Banks, Credit Unions

first_img Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / Senate Banking Committee Discusses Regulatory Burden on Community Banks, Credit Unions Community Banks Credit Unions Regulatory Burdens Senate Banking Committee 2015-02-12 Brian Honea During a hearing spread out over two days at the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on February 10 and 12, Committee chair Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) pointed out a “bipartisan understanding” that financial institutions need relief from perceived overregulation.The hearing, entitled “Regulatory Relief for Community Banks and Credit Unions,” was a gathering of the Committee’s lawmakers to discuss the effect of recent regulatory burdens placed on smaller banks and credit unions in response to the financial crisis.“As the hearing on Tuesday demonstrated, there is a bipartisan understanding that something must be done to relieve the regulatory burden on institutions that provide essential banking functions to communities across America,” Shelby said on Thursday, the second day of the hearing.Shelby said the purpose of the hearing was to focus on “unnecessary statutory and regulatory impediments” placed on community banks and credit unions, and he told the members of the Committee that “[a]lthough we may not agree on many things, I believe that we can all agree that community banks and credit unions play a vital role in our local economies.”Ed Templeton, Chairman of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU), testified to the committee that credit unions have a long history of helping the economy grow, and that “the need for regulatory relief is even stronger in 2015.” Templeton pointed out that 96 percent of the 1,100 federally insured credit unions that have gone out of existence since 2010 had assets of less than $100 million.“While NAFCU and its member credit unions take safety and soundness extremely seriously, the regulatory pendulum post-crisis has swung too far toward an environment of overregulation that threatens to stifle economic growth,” Templeton said in his testimony.Not everyone was convinced that the recent flurry of regulations enacted by such regulatory agencies as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have hurt smaller financial institutions. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), a chief architect of the CFPB, pointed out to Daniel Blanton, chairman-elect of the American Bankers’ Association, that the earnings of community banks increased significantly in 2014 and even said they were doing “better than big banks.””We’ve heard a lot today about how smaller banks are being smothered by unnecessary regulation, supposedly because of Dodd-Frank rules, like the new mortgage rules that went into effect in the first quarter of 2014,” Warren said. “. . .[T]he banking industry did substantially better after the (CFPB’s) mortgage rules went into effect in January of 2014. Why are they making more money since the rules went into effect and are doing better than the big banks?”Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), ranking member of the Committee, told the lawmakers that Congress passed, and the President signed into law, several regulatory relief proposals that received bipartisan support.“If we hope to find consensus on more regulatory relief proposals for community banks and credit unions this Congress, we will need to engage in a process similar to the one that allowed these bills to make it across the finish line,” Brown said. “. . .The regulators understand the concerns being raised by community banks and credit unions – they made it clear in their testimony this week and in their actions over the past several months. They have responded by making – or considering – changes to their supervision and regulation of these institutions in a way that lessens their regulatory burden, while at the same time safeguarding safety and soundness and ensuring strong consumer protections.”Brown noted two such proposals that have been recently introduced. One of them is the Privacy Notice Bill, introduced by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), which has 75 co-sponsors. This bill provides an exception to the annual written privacy notice requirement. The other proposal he mentioned, introduced by Brown himself during the last Congress, would allow privately insured credit unions to become members of the Federal Home Loan Bank System and would make it easier for credit unions to make small business loans and improve access to mortgages.While Brown spoke of regulatory relief proposals that had been introduced, at the same time he made it clear that he did not want to do anything that would erode Wall Street reform legislation such as Dodd-Frank.“And I want to reiterate that I am not interested in moving proposals that weaken or roll back Wall Street Reform, or undermine safety and soundness and consumer protection,” Brown said. “But, I think we should act on the proposals that we all agree, after fair consideration, will make a difference for the smallest institutions.” The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News About Author: Brian Honea Share Save  Print This Post The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Related Articles Previous: CFPB Moves Against Three Lenders for Falsely Implying Government Representation Next: DS News Webcast: Friday 2/13/2015center_img Senate Banking Committee Discusses Regulatory Burden on Community Banks, Credit Unions Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Tagged with: Community Banks Credit Unions Regulatory Burdens Senate Banking Committee Sign up for DS News Daily Subscribe The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Brian Honea’s writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master’s degree from Amberton University in Garland. Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago February 12, 2015 912 Views last_img read more

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