Call on Iraqi Prime Minister to defend freedom of expression and press
On 6 January 2015 the Iranian government-controlled Central News announced that Iraq's Interior Ministry has accused and labelled the activities of 12 TV networks as promoting terrorism.
At first it was assumed that Iran was fabricating and circulating these fictitious reports. However al-Iraqiya TV, the official television station of the Iraqi government, repeated the same accusations on 7 January and quoted Mr Sa’ad Moen, the official spokesman of the Interior Ministry as stating: “This has been done at the request of a governmental body called the Propaganda and Communication Organization and this Ministry will firmly implement this decision.”
Considering that some of the best-known Arab news networks such as al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya also appear on this list, we consider this step taken by the Iraqi Government as an extremely dangerous move against press freedom.
We are very concerned at the consequences and urge Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to annul this order and firmly to defend freedom of the press and free expression.
President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)
Struan Stevenson was a Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014 and was President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq from 2009 to 2014.