Closing 44 media agencies in Iraq condemned
The Government has ordered the closure of 44 media agencies including six international agencies.
The order to close them has been signed by the deputy Minister of the Interior, Adnan al-Asadi, who has asked the Police and Security not to let the media agencies work in the country.
He has also urged the MoI’s communications Department not to co-operate with the banned media outlets.
However the Head of the Free Press Observatory, Ziyad al-Ujeili, told Mustagbal-al-Iraq website that the Ministry’s decision was rushed and harsh and he condemns it.
He says the FPO has now sent a formal letter of protest to the Iraq Ministry of the Interior asking that the move to close the media agencies be stopped.
“There are some concerns about the legality of some media agencies but sending the decision to MoI (to close them) was rushed,” he says.
Al-Ujeili says the decision is also confusing as it comes at a sensitive time.
“There’s a political tension as different parties accuse each other of violating free press,” he says.
The Ministry’s decision to ban the unlicensed media agencies also asks the media not to spread sectarianism and extremism in Iraq and not to broadcast/print news stories without referring to any evidence.
Those media outlets ordered to close include the BBC, Montecarlo Radio, Sawa Radio, VOA (Voice of America), Baghdadiya and Madre Radio. It also prohibits reporters and cameramen from al-Daiyar and Babiliya, Nawa Radio and Murbid.