Kurdistan regional government officials and security forces are carrying out a growing assault on the freedom of journalists to work in Iraqi Kurdistan.
In March 2011, Human Rights Watch researcher Samer Muscati traveled across Iraqi Kurdistan, an autonomous region in northern Iraq, to monitor the protests of thousands of Kurds and the Kurdistan Regional Governments' (KRG) reaction to them. Though democratically elected, the KRG responded to these protests in much the same way as despots around the region. Security forces and their proxies repressed journalists through threats, arbitrary arrests, beatings and harassment, and by confiscating and destroying their equipment. On April 18, security forces violently seized control of Sara Square, the center of daily protests in Sulaimaniya, and have prevented any more demonstrations.