ERBIL, Iraq, June 7 (UPI) -- The Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq complained that a report on political rights in the region by Human Rights Watch was inflammatory.
Human Rights Watch accused the KRG of trying to silence Livin magazine, a publication the group described as a leading independent publication in the region.
"The Kurdistan Regional Government promised a new era of freedom for Iraqi Kurds, but it seems no more respectful of Kurdish rights to free speech than the government that preceded it," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a May 24 statement.
The KRG in a four-page letter to Human Rights Watch complained that the criticism was inaccurate and questions Human Rights Watch's characterization of Livin.
The letter from Falah Mustafa Bakir, a foreign affairs official with the KRG, added that the Kurdish government in Iraq wasn't completely innocent, however.
"The region is a young, developing democracy and it is a part of an even younger and more challenged federal democracy," his letter read.
Jalal Talabani, Iraqi president and head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said in March that reforms were imminent after seven people were killed during clashes between protesters and police forces in his region.
Human Rights Watch last week, however, accused Iraqi and Kurdish authorities of beating protest organizers to silence anti-government sentiments.