Me­dia should strengthen so­cial se­cu­rity and co­ex­is­tence

Kur­dish Globe in­ter­view with Mah­moud Mo­hammed

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By G. H

Kur­dis­tan is re­cently wit­ness­ing a new po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion. Kur­dish Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani iden­ti­fied Septem­ber 21, 2013 as the day for the par­lia­men­tary and pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, and the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment will de­cide on the date dur­ing this week. More­over Barzani stated last month that since con­sti­tu­tion draft has passed the le­gal pro­cesses, it can­not be re­turned to the par­lia­ment, but rather should be put un­der ref­er­en­dum, and no one should pre­vent peo­ple from this right.

Com­ment­ing on th­ese is­sued and de­vel­op­ments, Mah­moud Mo­hammed, mem­ber of the Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party Polit­bu­reau and Head of the party’s Cul­ture and Me­dia In­sti­tu­tion, told the Kur­dish Globe that some po­lit­i­cal groups have cre­ated this sit­u­a­tion and they want to use this sit­u­a­tion to ham­per the can­di­dacy of Pres­i­dent Barzani for the pres­i­dency po­si­tion.

“First of all we need to talk about the back­ground of the con­sti­tu­tion and ref­er­en­dum is­sue and how it started,” Mo­hammed told the Globe. “The con­sti­tu­tion was drafted as an as­sur­ance ba­sis for the peo­ple of Kur­dis­tan and for­eign­ers who want to deal with Kur­dis­tan Re­gion po­lit­i­cally, eco­nom­i­cally and com­mer­cially. All po­lit­i­cal groups in the re­gion were in agree­ment for draft­ing the con­sti­tu­tion.”

Mo­hammed said the draft was voted for by 36 par­ties in Koya Town, and af­ter dis­cus­sions and talks a spe­cial­ized com­mit­tee was as­signed to do the le­gal part of the process. They used con­sti­tu­tions of 40 coun­tries es­pe­cially those who are in sim­i­lar po­lit­i­cal and ge­o­graph­i­cal sit­u­a­tions as Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. Many ex­perts, in­clud­ing for­eign­ers par­tic­i­pated in draft­ing the con­sti­tu­tion. Later on, the project was sub­mit­ted to par­lia­ment and the pub­lic via print­ing 900 thou­sand copies and door were opened for com­ments and feed­back. Some 5000 com­ments were re­ceived on the draft and the par­lia­ment used th­ese com­ments to re­view the draft.

As for the cur­rent dis­cus­sions about the draft, Mo­hammed be­lieves that some po­lit­i­cal par­ties want to change the di­rec­tion of the is­sue to­wards an un­known desti­na­tion.

“The draft was voted for by 96 MPs out of 97 at­ten­dants of the vot­ing ses­sion and the ap­proved draft was sent to the Pres­i­dency Of­fice for fi­nal ap­proval. It is cor­rect that the con­sti­tu­tion may not be per­fect and have some short­com­ings, but this should be ad­dressed af­ter ref­er­en­dum through le­gal pro­cesses not based on the moods of some peo­ple or for po­lit­i­cal in­ter­est.”

De­spite the fact that Presi- dent Barzani has not yet an­nounced whether he wants to run for pres­i­dency again or not, op­po­si­tion groups have started a cam­paign against him in the me­dia.

Mo­hamed says “those who do th­ese are only per­form­ing their op­po­si­tion du­ties.”

He also added that con­sti­tu­tion is a le­gal and ad­min­is­tra­tive frame­work for the gov­er­nance of the coun­try.

“Op­pos­ing the con­sti­tu­tion is a huge his­tor­i­cal mis­take that the op­po­si­tion is now com­mit­ting by us­ing this is­sue as a po­lit­i­cal cam­paign for the elec­tions. It is not fair to use any means for win­ning votes.”

The democ­racy and free­dom of speech in Kur­dis­tan is some­times be­ing mis­used by some me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions who want to mis­lead the pub­lic in­stead of lead­ing them in na­tional is­sues.

“The duty of the me­dia is not only pass­ing po­lit­i­cal and party mes­sages to peo­ple but it should rather be giv­ing a chance to peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in the de­vel­op­ment of the Kur­dish so­ci­ety,” Mo­hammed told the Globe. “Me­dia can lead the events in the di­rec­tion of the com­mon in­ter­est of the peo­ple while it can also do the op­po­site by di­rect­ing it ac­cord­ing to in­di­vid­ual in­ter­ests. The role of the me­dia is now clear but here we only see it from a po­lit­i­cal and short term con­flicts per­spec­tive.”

The KDP of­fi­cial also added that this has harmed the peo­ple since bring­ing about a suit­able men­tal, eco­nomic and cul­tural state, al­lows peo­ple to en­joy their civil and le­gal rights with aware­ness. It also cre­ates trust, un­der­stand­ing and so­cial se­cu­rity. In­stead of al­low­ing peo­ple to get in­for­ma­tion, some me­dia chan­nels try to keep peo­ple in the dark­ness and play with their minds, some­thing that will have neg­a­tive im­pact on the de­vel­op­ment of the Kur­dish so­ci­ety.

Ad­dress­ing the cur­rent is­sues be­tween Er­bil and Bagh­dad, Mo­hammed said “we need to be re­al­is­tic, and po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion through talks and di­a­logue is the best so­lu­tion. The Prime Min­is­ter of Iraq has an im­por­tant po­si­tion while Iraq is a multi-re­li­gious and multi-eth­nic coun­try. Ev­ery­thing is writ­ten in Bagh­dad and de­cided upon. So it is im­por­tant to use this diver­sity as a foun­da­tion for strength­en­ing the coun­try rather than weak­en­ing it and cre­at­ing prob­lems and deny­ing rights and spe­cial sta­tus of dif­fer­ent com­po­nents of the Iraqi so­ci­ety.

“Peo­ple have the right to live a bet­ter life than what they had un­der the pre­vi­ous regime. If we have the same Arab-dom­i­nant think­ing like the past, it means that we have not done any­thing. All this sac­ri­fice has been made for the sake of a free and demo­cratic coun­try, whether sac­ri­fice by Iraqis, Amer­i­cans or oth­ers. In the past all pow­ers were used for in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal wars. This needs to change. New Iraq should adapt to the cur­rent de­vel­op­ments. Hence shar­ing, agree­ment and ac­cep­tance are very im­por­tant to solve the is­sues rather than us­ing the ma­jor­ity and mi­nor­ity ba­sis since Iraq has three ma­jor com­po­nents and has nu­mer­ous re­li­gious, sec­tar­ian and eth­nic groups.

Re­gard­ing the po­ten­tial visit of Prime Min­is­ter Nuri Ma­liki to Kur­dis­tan, Mo­hammed says there is a pos­si­bil­ity that he will visit the re­gion, and this is a very im­por­tant step to­wards a real so­lu­tion for the long pend­ing is­sues be­tween Er­bil and Bag­dad. “We hope this will be a good step for­ward and talks will have re­sults. We know that Pres­i­dent Barzani did an ini­tia­tive, Kur­dish del­e­ga­tion headed by Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani vis­ited Ma­liki in Bag­dad and signed an agree­ment with Ma­liki about so­lu­tions to the pend­ing is­sues be­tween the re­gion and Bagh­dad. Th­ese are all im­por­tant steps to­wards pos­i­tive re­sults.”

Ad­dress­ing the is­sue that some think that Pres­i­dent Barzani was the rea­son be­hind the ten­sions be­tween Er­bil and Bagh­dad, Mo­hammed said Barzani warned peo­ple about the sit­u­a­tions and the pos­si­bil­i­ties in Bagh­dad. His aim was to raise peo­ple’s aware­ness so that this im­por­tant is­sue is not over­looked. This was a pos­i­tive step since now ev­ery­one un­der­stands this re­al­ity.

The friend­ship be­tween Kurds and Shi­ites is from long ago and it dates back to the harsh times. Crit­i­cism is to­wards gov­er­nance not to­wards re­li­gions or sects. Our com­plaints were ad­dressed to the Prime Min­is­ter about his gov­er­nance of Iraq. We should not for­get that Ma­liki won this po­si­tion with the votes of the Kurds, Shi­ites and Sun­nis. Those who ac­cuse Pres­i­dent Barzani in this re­gard are aim­ing at dis­tort­ing the re­al­i­ties.

The strate­gic agree­ment be­tween KDP and PUK is a na­tional need and now as the two par­ties par­tic­i­pate in elec­tions sep­a­rately, op­po­si­tion takes it as a sign of de­vi­a­tion from each other.

“The strate­gic agree­ment was a re­quire­ment of that phase. The Kur­dish peo­ple and the po­lit­i­cal process were the first ben­e­fi­cia­ries of this agree­ment. It paved the way for po­lit­i­cal open­ness and trans­fer­ring au- thor­ity. And the agree­ment achieved most of its main goals and we be­lieve that chang­ing the agree­ment and adapt­ing it to cur­rent sit­u­a­tions is re­quired. What is now be­ing done about elec­tions does not mean the can­ce­la­tion of the agree­ment but rather a re­view for some ar­ti­cles of the agree­ment.”

The KDP Polit­bu­reau mem­ber ad­dressed the is­sue of the me­dia war in the re­gion and the crit­i­cism about the KDP me­dia that does not re­spond to all the me­dia wars and ac­cu­sa­tions against the party. He said “in re­al­ity the pol­icy of the KDP is de­signed in a way that takes into ac­count all prin­ci­ples of me­dia and al­ways tries to deal pro­fes­sion­ally with the events. It does not like ex­ag­ger­a­tion. More­over KDP has a po­lit­i­cal, so­cial, eco­nomic, le­gal and cul­tural re­spon­si­bil­ity in Kur­dis­tan. That is why it al­ways takes peo­ple and their peace of mind and rights into ac­count and di­rects me­dia in a way that strengthen the so­cial se­cu­rity of peo­ple and in­stead of keep­ing peo­ple busy with in­signif­i­cant con­flicts and me­dia wars, it thinks of the hu­man, na­tional and demo­cratic re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as well as peace­ful co-ex­is­tence, wel­fare and se­cu­rity of the peo­ple. At this stage this is the duty of a re­spon­si­ble me­dia. Oth­er­wise, we can have our word for any is­sue. But we should not for­get that this would waste our con­struc­tive hu­mane re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of our me­dia.

Mah­moud Mo­hammed, mem­ber of the Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party Polit­bu­reau and Head of the party’s Cul­ture and Me­dia In­sti­tu­tion

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