Erbil Sports Journalists Board founded
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Under the slogan of "The unity of sports journalists and keeping their rights are our aim," three sports journalists declared the establishment of the Erbil Sports Journalists Board in the Kurdish capital city of Erbil.
The declaration took place on January 23, at the Ministry of Culture's Training Unit in Erbil where many sports journalists and athletes were in attendance. The board is currently run by Ahmad Mustafa, Hiwa Mala Qader, and Mamayara Ahmad, three journalists who are based in Erbil city and are working for three different media agencies.
"In this board all the journalists will have the same positions. No one is higher than the other unless the members request to have someone to head the board. In order the sports journalists can better represent themselves, we ask all of them to become members of the board," said Ahmad Mustafa, one of the founders of the board.
In addition to reporters and broadcasters, cameramen, designers, and other press related people who work in sports journalism field can also become members of the board.
The establishment of Erbil Sports Journalists Board comes a few months after Kurdistan Sports Journalists Committee (KSJC) held its conference and declared its new secretary and members.
One of the main duties of the board, according to Hiwam Mala Qader, a member of the board, is to play a role in rescuing Kurdistan sports from its current dilemma through coordinating with other sides and organizations.
"We don't want to work against any other sides and organizations. We only want to help serve sports in Kurdistan generally and sports journalists in particular," said Mala Qader.
Unlike KSJC, according to Mala Qader, working in the board isn't based on politics; sports journalists from any media agencies can become members of the board.
"We are only three journalists who founded this board. Each one of us has different political views, but we can all work with each other. We want to show to others that politics shouldn't prevent journalists from working with each other and shouldn't be considered as a standard for becoming members of our board," explained Mala Qade.
Although KSJC is claimed to be founded on the principle of protecting journalists' rights and serving sports in general, many sports press people think KSJC hasn't been fair in their works. The establishment of Erbil Sports Journalists Board is considered to become like an observation organization for monitoring KJSC's works and duties.
"We haven't seen justice in the works of the KJSC so far. We are not declaring ourselves to stand against KJSC at all, but we will be active observers on their works. We want to see if KJSC members would trespass from their legal domain," he warned.
Although many sports journalists attended the event of the board declaration, many others didn't under different pretexts. Mamayara Ahmad, another member of the board, said "we wish all the journalists could have attended so that they could better understand the importance of the board and its tasks and aims."
Ahmad also said the board needs everybody's help since it has no financial sources and is not supported by any political side. However, representatives of some organizations and centers, who attended in the declaration of the board, showed their readiness to help the board by providing moral support.
Metro Center, which is an organization for defending journalists rights in Erbil, confirmed its support for the board through its representative and decided to provide journalists with lawyers in case of facing legal issues.
Canadian Center for Training Journalists in Kurdistan also promised to support the board through opening training courses for those who become members of the board.
The board is supposed to prepare its policy and working programs based on suggestions and ideas provided by all journalists soon. If things go well and the board wins journalists' satisfaction, journalists from other parts of Kurdistan may get invited for membership and the board's name may change to Kurdistan Sports Journalists Board.
A photographer takes pictures in Franso Hariri Stadium in Erbil.