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Iraq suspends Al Jazeera, along with nine other networks for ‘promoting violence; citing “unprofessional reporting which escalated sectarian tension”

Freedom of press in Iraq comes at terrible cost

In Iraq, 230 media workers have been killed since the US-led invasion in 2003, Reporters Without Borders say. Since their report came out on Tuesday, two more journalists have been murdered.
Riad al-Saray’s programmes tackled Iraqi politics and religion
The figure includes a number of foreign reporters, but the overwhelming majority of journalists who are targeted are Iraqis, who continue to do their jobs despite huge risks, says the BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse in Baghdad.

Our next representative – Oday Hatem, Press Freedom Advocacy Association, Iraq
April 18, 2013
Today we share the story of one more civil society activist to participate in the 7thMinisterial Conference of the Community of Democracies – Oday Hatem, Chairman of the Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq.
Laureate of the French Medal of Freedom of Expression for the year 2010, the Association focus its advocacy on one of the most challenging aspects of democratization – the consolidation of democratic norms of freedom of speech and press, in a society which is yet to learn it. This challenge requires tiresome work, both with the government (pushing forward new laws ensuring the basic freedoms), with the society (who is taught to be more tolerant and open towards media), and within the circle of the journalists themselves, who suddenly enjoy much more freedom, and need the tools and expertise in order to be able to make good use of it.

Iraq has suspended the licences of 10 satellite television channels, including Al Jazeera, for promoting violence and sectarianism, a senior official at the country’s media watchdog has said. “We took a decision to suspend the licence of some satellite channels that adopted language encouraging violence and sectarianism,” said Mujahid Abu al-Hail of the Communications and Media Commission (CMC) on Sunday.
“It means stopping their work in Iraq and their activities, so they cannot cover events in Iraq or move around,” Hail said. The CMC said it believes that “the rhetoric and substance coverage” by Baghdad, Al Sharqiyah, Al Sharqiyah News, Babylonian, Salah al-Din, Anwar 2, al Tagheer, Fallujah, Al Jazeera and Al Gharbiyah, all TV channels that operate in the region, were “provocative, misleading and exaggerated with the objective of disturbing the civil and democratic process”.

“We are astonished by this development. We cover all sides of the stories in Iraq, and have done for many years. The fact that so many channels have been hit all at once though suggests this is an indiscriminate decision,” Al Jazeera said in a statement. 

“We urge the authorities to uphold freedom for the media to report the important stories taking place in Iraq.” the statement added.  MORE

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