Iraq halts media shutdown plans
Iraq has suspended plans to close 44 media operations in the country,
including the BBC and Voice of America, after an outcry by press
The Communications and Media Commission that regulates the news media in Iraq will give the targeted organisations more time to pay outstanding fees and renew lapsed licenses, deputy director Ali Nasir said.
The commission denied that its previous order to close the agencies, most of them Iraqi, represented a crackdown on a free press. No media outlets were known to be actually shut down.
Still, the Iraqi press watchdog Journalistic Freedoms Observatory decried the order as "a setback to the freedom of journalism in Iraq."
The group accused the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of trying to silence critics. The dispute called into question the future of Iraq's fledgling democracy nine years after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Mr Nasir said today that five organisations, including the BBC and US-funded Radio Sawa, are working with the media commission to settle licensing problems.
Most of the other organisations on the list are Iraqi, including prominent broadcasters that had criticised al-Maliki but also Shiite religious programming that had no apparent political stance.
Some of the broadcasters targeted for closure are using frequencies that are either licensed to other stations or used by security forces, Mr Nasir said.
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
World news in pictures
David Cameron goes to war with newspapers over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
Revealed: Eerie new images show forgotten French apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched for 70 years
- 1 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 2 Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 David Cameron goes to war with newspapers over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£50000 - £58000 per annum + Benefits and Bonus: Progressive Recruitment: SAP F...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + BENS: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal Developer A ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + bens: Progressive Recruitment: C# WEB DEVELOPER Le...
£240 - £260 per day: Progressive Recruitment: WPF Developer (C#, VB.Net) North...