IRAQ Protest as Iraq moves to close 44 media outlets
One broadcaster targeted for shutdown was Radio Sawa
Baghdad: An Iraqi press freedom group is condemning the government for ordering the closure of 44 news organisations, including a US-funded broadcaster.
Ziyad Al Aajely, head of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, calls the move “a setback to the freedom of journalism in Iraq”.
The Iraqi media commission’s Safaa Rabie denies any crackdown, saying on Sunday it only seeks to close offices without an operating licence. Some foreign media on the list no longer keep news bureaus in Iraq.
However, one broadcaster targeted for shutdown, US-funded Radio Sawa, says it does have a licence. Radio Sawa deputy director Salah Nasrawi says he was surprised to see the station on the list but said it could be a bureaucratic error.
Critics have accused Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki of muzzling the press to consolidate power.