Iraq bans Al Jazeera news network over violation of guidelines
Iraqi officials have revoked the operating license of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera news network and closed its bureau in the capital, Baghdad, over its violation of government guidelines.
In a Wednesday letter to the controversial satellite network, Iraq’s Communications and Media Commission (CMC) said it was revoking the license that allowed Al Jazeera to operate in Iraq due to “violations of the official codes of conduct and broadcasting rules and regulations.”
The guidelines were issued in 2014 to regulate media coverage “during the war on terror.” Iraq is engaged in anti-terror operations against the Takfiri Daesh group, which has overrun parts of the country.
Al Jazeera said it was “shocked” by the decision.
“We remain committed to broadcasting news on Iraq to Iraqi people, our viewers in the Arab world and across the world,” it said in a statement.
It is the third time the network has been banned in Iraq. The last time, the Iraqi government charged Al Jazeera and nine other satellite television networks with promoting sectarian feelings and fueling violence in 2013.
Al Jazeera, which was founded by Qatar’s royal family in 1996, is accused of being sympathetic to armed extremist groups operating in the Middle East apparently on the basis of an overarching political agenda.
Qatar itself is a major backer of the Takfiri militancy against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2011, and has been accused of supporting radical militants in the region as well as dissent in Iraq