Accusing People from the Media and Social Media


Karzan Mohamad PhD
Journalist & University Lecturer

According to the Iraqi penal codes, if imputing someone through one of the media devices, then the judge has such an ability to impose the highest penalty but not be escalated twice on its fine, for instance, the penal of defamation and accusation is (5) Iraqi million dinars, the judge can increase to (10) million dinars.

The Reasons behind Cruel Punishment on the Mass Media refer to:

1- When the media publish a topic most people will see, read and listen to it. At that time the case differs because it is not looking like accusing someone opposite a person or a small number of people.

2- Gossip and defamation will become history, for instance, sometimes the media become the reason for breaking the personality of someone even after his/her death. The person may a candidate or a politic person.

3- People trust those accusations that spread from the channels which means they believe the news is true that’s why spreads on the channels.

For the sake of those points mentioned above, the judge can severe the penal by focusing on the material (433) of the Iraqi penal codes. At the same time, in clause (3) material (9) of the Iraqi press laws number (35) of the year (2007), during the repetition, the court can raise the fine but no more than doubled the price as we mentioned in the first clause.

The Protection Methods from Accusation Punishment

To separate criticism from defamation, we have to think about three basic points before we blame or criticize someone.

A. The critique or the accusation must be true: the main responsibility of the journalist is assurance. For instance, when a journalist mentions the name of responsible as corrupt or fabricator, he/she has to be sure about the truth of the news not focusing on the doubt. One of the phenomena of the accusation on the Kurdish journalism was from the machete of the first page of (citizen) journal, it was written, "due to cutting the prime minister’s house telephone wire the prime minister has expelled two employees of (Kurd Tel Company in Sulaimani)”. After the prime minister registered petition opposite the (citizen) journal, the journal lost the case, finally, the journal apologized formally.

B. The accusation should be improved: There is lots of information on the individuals, political parties and responsibilities will reach to the media via the reporters, few of the information are blaming types like red tape, unethical, carelessness, forgery, robbery and so on, if the information is true we need a concrete evidence to publish. For example, the (citizen) journal has published a report about the fortune of the Iraqi president the late (Jalal Talabani) and the former Kurdistan President (Masoud Barzani), Talabani has complained of the journal via the crime of gossiping, for the sake of not proved by the journal, the journal lost the case.

C. Media have to serve the public interests: the media must serve its community if the information and subjects will put the interests of the community into danger; hence such a report cannot be published legally because the main goal of law is providing welfare to the inhabitants while having unrest circumstances will harm the security of the country.

The Rights of Complaints

The following sides can complain about the media if a media accused or defamed them such as ordinary people, political men, merchants, etc., and the last decision belongs to the judges.

The prosecutors as the highest legal power can complain against the media which publish report will harm the tradition of the society. The goal of the prosecutor is to monitor the media to create boundary freedom thought, similarly, not letting the freedom of thought makes harm to the community morally and materially.


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