ANHRI condemns the closure of Al-Baghdadia channel due to allegations of the non-pyament of the fees related to the satellite broadcast in addition to not signing the media code of conduct.
On Saturday December 15, 2012, the Iraqi security forces surrounded the office of Al-Baghdadia in Baghdad and the agency of “ Al-Baghdadia News”. The forces ordered the employees to leave it due to an administrative decision issued by the The Communications and Media Commission (CMC) on Thursday December 13, 2012. The decision was issued due to allegations that the channel violated the Broadcasting and transmission controls, did not sign the code of media conduct and did not pay the costs and fees of the external broadcast and transmission, despite the channel denied such allegations. The channel said that “it was one of the first Iraqi channels that signed the code of media conduct and there are no payments due to the CMC. The channel also called for presenting any of the official documents related to the payments due”.
This is the second decision to issued against the channel by CMC (which is an independent authority that does not associate to any other governmental entity by virtue of the Iraqi constitution which established in 2004. It aims to regulate and develop the media and telecommunications sectors in Iraq under the modern international criteria. Among CMC significant responsibilities are regulating broadcasting and communications networks and services, including licensing, pricing, interconnection, as well as identifying the basic conditions for the provision of public services).
As on the early beggings of 2010, CMC decided to close the offices of the channel in all over Iraq due to allegations of violating the rules and regulations of the media broadcast, public order and threatens the public order, as the channel broad casted number of urgent news included the promotion to demands of an armed group that kidnapped a group of hostages in a church in the middle of Baghdad before it was rebroadcasted again on August 2012.
ANHRI said that “the decision of the Iraqi authorities to shut down the channel is an arbitrary decision and an attempt of El-Malki regime to silence the voices and blackmail the media. The decision was made after the channel broadcasted programs that focus on exposing the corruption files in the state by documents. In addition the channel allowed the political opponent to expose the corruption files and documents in the channel; among the significant cases are the central bank case and the Russian arms deal in which parliamentarians and politicians were involved”.
ANHRI called the Iraqi authorities to stop controlling the media-outlets and journalists. Recently, Iraq witnessed a furious campaign directed against the media-outlets and journalists, represented in banning the media-staff and journalists from performing their jobs in covering the events. The authorities banned the channel from covering Ashura events in the capital of Baghdad, in addition to banning the staff of “Alsumaria channel” from performing their job in the middle of Baghdad on Monday December 10, 2012 on the background of holding a group of interviews to finish the news report to the channel.
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