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JFO: Press Freedoms Under Fire
Newspaper To Be Sued For Printing MP’s Comments, Radio Station Raided
05/07/2009 5:21 PM ET
Photo: J.F.O.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory in Iraq has two new reports which show just a few of the challenges Iraqi news organizations face. The incidents that are featured in the JFO reports came less than a week after World Press Freedom Day, when journalists, their unions, and some government officials gathered to address the rights of the Iraqi journalist.

After intended arrests of Trade Ministry officials, and even a shootout between its guards and government security forces over corruption charges, Al-Mashriq newspaper printed quotes from four MPs, who accused trade minister Falah al-Sudani of corruption. Al-Sudani has now announced a lawsuit, not against the MPs, but against the newspaper.

It is important to note that the quotes themselves are not in question, as was the case in April, when Gen. Qassim Atta threatened to shut down the Baghdad offices of Al-Hayat newspaper and Al-Sharqiya television station for misquoting him. For simply printing accurate quotes (and from Iraqi lawmakers at that), the paper is being sued 150,000,000 Dinars (about $130,000).

Also, the JFO reported that, in Baghdad, the Dimuzzi radio Station was raided by a “special security force,” who attempted to confiscate “tapes and equipment.” According to the JFO, the security forces had no judicial warrant to do so. The stated reason for the raid given at the scene was that “the stations’ guards had assaulted a citizen during an argument,” a violation which would hardly justify the confiscation of radio broadcasting equipment.

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