The NRT channels opened in Erbil and Duhok after the US Secretary of State, in a telephone call with the Prime Minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, stressed the need for media freedom in Iraq.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on his Twitter account that he had emphasized his support for media freedom in a conversation with Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.

“We remain supportive of media freedom in Iraq”

Just hours after the phone call, regional security forces allowed NRT Channel staff in Erbil and Duhok to open their offices.

The NRT office in Erbil was closed by the regional security forces two days ago.
The NRT office in Duhok had been closed by security forces since August, following protests in Zakho, and security forces did not allow NRT staff to operate in the two provinces.
The NRT office in Erbil was closed from August to October.
Also on December 7, security forces in Sulaimaniyah closed the NRT office for 12 days and destroyed the broadcast equipment.

In recent months, security forces have stepped up pressure on civil society activists and journalists, and more than 50 activists from Dohuk and Erbil are currently in prison.