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VOA Statement on Detention of VOA Kurdish Journalist Team

A screenshot of reporter Snur Karim doing a Facebook Live broadcast for VOA Kurdish in Iraqi Kurdistan shortly before authorities arrested her and video journalist Mohammed Azad Majeed. (VOA Kurdish)

We are extremely dismayed by the detention of VOA Kurdish journalist Snur Karim and camera operator Mohammed Azad Majeed this past weekend in Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan. A political party called New Generation was protesting the local government. The Kurdish security forces used tear gas in an effort to disperse the protesters. The VOA journalist and camera operator were shooting live coverage of the protest when both were taken away, along with other journalists on the scene. VOA Kurdish colleagues at VOA headquarters in Washington, D.C. watching the Facebook Live report online witnessed the disruption by authorities in real time and reported the incident to VOA leadership. Our journalist had obtained permission from local authorities to cover the protest and record a Facebook Live on her phone from the scene. Our team was detained for several hours and then released. Their equipment was taken and was just returned. We remain very concerned about this incident, particularly given that our team was reporting on scene with appropriate authorization.