Iraq Shuts 10 TV Channels for Broadcasting 'Hype'

Al Jazeera, 9 others blamed for surge in violence
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2013 1:00 AM CDT
Iraq Shuts Down 'Sectarian' TV Channels
Masked Sunni protesters wave Islamist flags while others chant slogans at an anti-government rally in Fallujah, Iraq, last week.   (AP Photo/Bilal Fawzi)

Iraq has ordered al-Jazeera and nine other TV stations off the air, accusing them of causing the sectarian conflict that has killed more than 200 people over the last week. The move came after the stations—all but one of which is Sunni-owned—covered a raid by security forces on a Sunni protest camp that left dozens of civilians dead, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Iraqi government accuses the channels of broadcasting "misinformation, hype, and exaggeration."

Some of the journalists affected have vowed to defy the government and keep reporting from inside Iraq, the New York Times reports. Al-Jazeera released a statement saying it was "astonished by this development," and urging the government to "uphold freedom for the media to report the important stories taking place in Iraq." A senior American official who insisted on remaining anonymous sharply criticized the move. "Besides giving the appearance of trying to cover up security force actions and intimidate the press, this undermines confidence in the Iraqi government’s ability to govern democratically and guarantee freedom of expression," he said in a statement. (More Iraq stories.)

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