Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday that the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission accused the network of government violations—an allegation Al Jazeera denies. The CMC revoked its operating license and has banned journalists from reporting from within the country.
Al Jazeera received a letter on Wednesday from the CMC stating the withdrawal of Al Jazeera’s license was a result of “violations of the official codes of conduct and broadcasting rules and regulations.”
Even though the network is disappointed by the decision, Al Jazeera released a statement, stating that it would continue coverage of Iraq for those in Iraq and around the globe.
“Al Jazeera is committed to its editorial principles in the coverage of current affairs in Iraq. It abides by its code of ethics in its coverage and programming, and by the highest global standards of professionalism, and has been doing so since its launch.” Al Jazeera
No Stranger to Controversy
Al Jazeera is no stranger to controversy. The network has been banned by several countries throughout the years for allegedly failing to follow the rules and for not “undertaking serious and responsible journalism.”
In November 2010, Morocco banned Al Jazeera from operating within its borders for refusing to be objective, and instead, working to ruin the country’s image. Previously, the network was banned in 2000 and again in 2008 for “disseminating false information” over the security clashes in Sidi Ifni.
In July 2004, Algeria shut down the Al Jazeera’s branch for allegedly speaking publicly in regards to the country’s political situation.
In May 2000, Al Jazeera was banned from Bahrain allegedly due to the network’s comments about Bahrain’s municipal elections. Although, Al Jazeera emphasized the ministry never issued a specific reason for the ban.
Finally, this is not the first time the network has been banned from Iraq. In August 2004, the Iraqi government accused the network of “inciting hatred” in the country.
The second occurrence was in April 2013. The network and nine, mostly Sunni Muslim, satellite broadcast channels were blamed for “encouraging the sectarian unrest.” The network denied the allegations. “We are conveying points of view. We are not adopting those points of view,” stated a journalist who chose to remain anonymous.
Al Jazeera is again denying that it made any violations of professional journalism standards in its news coverage and programming in the previous instances. In the statement released by the network, it says the decision to revoke its license is a stab at the freedom of speech the Iraqi government swore to protect.
The network is working to resume operations in its Baghdad branch as soon as possible “in the spirit of the press freedoms guaranteed by the Iraqi constitution.”
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