Iraq Backs Away From Threat To Close Down Media Outlets

Responding to international condemnation and accusations of political censorship, the Iraqi government has backed off on plans to shutter 44 media outlets that included the BBC and Voice of America. Instead, the government will give the agencies time to resolve any outstanding issues, including paying fines and renewing licenses.

Some agencies said they had their licenses in order and were operating within the law, so they did not know why they were targeted. The deputy director of the Communications and Media Commission said several of the stations were operating on frequencies that belonged to other stations or security forces.

The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory is the watchdog that alerted the public to this latest transgression against freedom of the press in Iraq. Not only is Iraq one of the most dangerous countries for reporters to operate within, the government has long been antagonistic to journalists critical of it.

At least three Iraqis were killed and 19 more were wounded in new violence:

In Baquba, two civilians were killed and three more were wounded in a bombing outside a shop. A separate blast wounded five people, including civilians. Gunmen wounded a soldier.

A sticky bomb in Mussayab killed one person and wounded another.

In Mosul, three policemen were wounded in a roadside blast. Another bomb wounded two civilians, possibly Shabak. Police safely detonated a bomb at a separate location.

Gunmen wounded three soldiers in Gatoun.

A soldier was wounded as security forces liberated a kidnap victim in Kirkuk.

Bomb exploded at two separate homes belonging to officials in Nasariya.

Read more by Margaret Griffis

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.