CMC Exercising Illegal Powers Against Media in The Country

29/7/2021

The Communications and Media Commission (CMC) issued a number of obligations to the media, including legal and constitutional violations.

The Commission’s letter, entitled “Circulation to All Media Outlets”, included an intervention in the nature of dialogues, the selection of guests, and the form and framework of hosting in talk shows on the model of ministries of information in countries with dictatorial regimes.

The Commission’s letter also obligated all media outlets not to publish any leaked books or documents.

The Press Freedom Advocacy Association (PFAA) would like to state the following:

  • The CMC has a regulation concerned with broadcasting and media behavior, which it issued in accordance with Order No. 65 issued by the civil governor of Iraq, Paul Bremer, and the commission must not exceed the framework and limits of what its regulations stipulate, of which we have noted an objection against some of its paragraphs.
  • The CMC was established in order to regulate media broadcasting in Iraq, not to take the authority of the (dissolved) Ministry of Information in accordance with the Iraqi constitution, which guarantees freedom of media, press and publication in all its forms.
  • The CMC has no authority over any of the media outlets in Iraq in accordance with Order No. 65 that regulates its framework. However, its tasks are to regulate frequencies and broadcasts, to fine those who violate the rules and regulations of broadcasting and only.
  • Publishing leaked documents is not considered a violation of any media broadcasting regulations, especially since Iraqi law criminalizes the employee who leaks the document. It is not the commission’s task to hold accountable or threaten those who publish such documents, especially since Iraq has not yet passed a law on the right of access to information and data.
  • The letter entitled “Circulation” gives an administrative impression of the subordination of all media to the commission, which is a constitutional violation.

Based on all of the foregoing, the Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq PFAA confirms that the letter issued by the head of the executive body constitutes a flagrant constitutional violation, and some of its provisions conflict with effective Iraqi laws.

Therefore, the PFAA calls on the CMC to reform the situation and amend the letter from circulation and obligations to recommendations, in order to ward off the ban.

Finally, everything stated in this circulation letter contradicts the provisions of the constitution related to freedom of expression and the right to obtain information, and leads to the media’s departure from its impartiality, independence and freedom to raise issues and topics of concern to the Iraqi street and makes it subject to the executive authority.

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