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article imageIraq suspends 10 television channels due to a rise in violence

By Layne Weiss     Apr 28, 2013 in World
Baghdad - Iraq's government has ordered the licenses of 10 television channels be suspended because of a rise in sectarian violence. Al-Jazeera TV and Sharqiya are among the channels ordered to be shut down for the time being.
The channels have been accused of egging on this violence with their "unprofessional" and "unethical" coverage of recent fighting in northern Iraq, CNN reports.
The Iraqi Communication and Media Commission issued a statement saying the satellite channels had "exaggerated things, giving misinformation and called for breaking the law and attacking Iraqi security forces," BBC News reports.
BBC Baghdad correspondent Rafid Jaboori says most of the channels which have been shut down are Sunni-owned. Al-Jazeera is based in Qatar, but is perceived as more pro-Sunni.
Omar Abul-ilah, the head of Al-Jazeera's Baghdad Bureau, said it was not made clear whether the suspension covers only Al-Jazeera's Arab speaking programming or its English speaking programming as well.
The director of Baghdad TV, which is owned by the Islamic party, said he was waiting for more information from the authorities.
Ahmed Saeed, a reporter for Baghdad Satellite TV, said this measure halts his ability to report.
"We cannot cover anything now," Saeed told CNN. "Iraqi security forces will immediately arrest us."
"We are astonished by this development. We cover all sides of the stories in Iraq, and have done so for many years. The fact that so many channels have been hit all at once though suggests that this is an indiscriminate decision. We urge the authorities to uphold freedom for the media to report the important stories taking place in Iraq,"Al-Jazeera said in a statement.
More about Sunni unrest, tv license suspension, rise in violence, AlJazeera TV
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