Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July 2014, 13:56 GMT

Press watchdog says Iraq orders closure of 44 media outlets

Publisher Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Publication Date 24 June 2012
Cite as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Press watchdog says Iraq orders closure of 44 media outlets, 24 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ff6aa39c.html [accessed 25 July 2014]
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June 24, 2012

A press freedom group in Iraq says a media commission with close ties to the government has ordered the closure of dozens of news organizations.

Hadi Jallo Merei, the president of the Baghdad-based Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq that the country's Communications and Media Commission has issued a list of 44 foreign and domestic media groups that are operating without proper registration.

The Interior Ministry has ordered police to enforce the closure of all companies on the list.

The list includes U.S.-funded Radio Sawa, an Arabic-language radio station operated by the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, a sister station to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Radio Sawa says it does have a license. Deputy Director Salah Nasrawi told AP that he was surprised to see the station on the list but said it could be a bureaucratic error.

The Iraqi media commission has denied the measure is meant as a widespread crackdown against the press.

But press watchdog groups have accused Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of seeking to muzzle the media in order to consolidate power.

The government has made no official response to the ordered closures.

With reporting by AP and rt.com

Link to original story on RFE/RL website

Copyright notice: Copyright (c) 2007-2009. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036

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