Ministry of Interior forces barred a number of media channels and news agencies from covering the demonstrations that swept Diwaniya province on Friday. Correspondents from Asia, Furat, Alitijah, Alghadeer, Biladi and Baghdadiya channels said that they were surprised that the Media and Communications Commission provided the police forces with a book that prohibits the function of any media body from covering the ongoing events in the province.
The Ministry told the media that it was informed by the Commission in an official letter that any coverage be prohibited concerning the demonstrations that took place in Diwaniya. Its excuse that they owe the commission financial dues and the procedure is a response.
Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq severely condemns the attitude of The Ministry of Interior and The Media and Communications Commission underlining their illegal stance against media and freedom of media performance that was stipulated in the Iraqi constitution. The association affirms that these events are considered a clear violation not only to the Iraqi constitution but also to International standards and conventions that Iraq has signed. The association points out that this is not the first time that the commission adopts such violations since a similar book was directed to the MoI to close all Baghdadiya offices in Iraq several days ago.
The association is concerned about the ambiguous transformation of the commission from an organizational element into a media watchdog. It recently adopted an unprofessional conduct towards media institutions that are part of the unstable political and security situation in the country. The Association urges the president to interfere since he represents the constitution and holds its guardianship along with the parliament speaker; to put an end to the commission’s actions and calls MPs to get benefit from specified NGOs in legislating the Media and Communications law where it should include the terms of a professional institution and eliminate its threatening role that it recently has adopted against media bodies.