BAGHDFAD, Iraq, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- TV al-Charkiya, a privately-owned Iraqi satellite channel was closed by Iraqi authorities for "inciting sectarian violence," according to Reporters Without Borders.
The Paris-based media watchdog organization has condemned the closure of the bureau. The announcement of his execution and the broadcast of footage of his hanging produced sharply different reactions in the Iraqi media. Some, particularly state-owned publications, celebrated the death of the "tyrant", while others lamented his death.
"We are very concerned by the attitude of the Nuri al-Maliki government which is imposing more and more restrictions on the press," the worldwide press freedom organization said. "The authorities should show more restraint so that pluralism of news and information remains a reality in Iraq."
The interior ministry decided on 1st January 2007 to shut down the offices of the al-Charkiya, in the capital's Yarmuq neighbourhood for "incitement to sectarian violence" and "to hatred". The same day the channel had showed film of several demonstrations oppo-sed to the execution of Saddam Hussein, in Bagdad, Tikrit (province in which the president was born) and in the Jordanian capital, Amman, where his daughter, Raghad Hussein, lives. Elsewhere, presenters on public al-Iraqiya condemned "Iraqi and Arab TV channels showing sympathy for the tyrant Saddam Hussein". Al-Charkiya is still broadcasting from its studios in Dubai and Amman.
The Iraqi authorities had already ordered the closure, on Nov. 5, 2006, of TV stations al-Zaura and Salah-Eddin for showing footage of demonstrators brandishing pictures of the former president and protesting at his death sentence. Both stations were accused of inciting sectarian violence and have still not been allowed to resume broadcasting.
Elsewhere, Reporters Without Borders has learned of the murder, on 29 December 2006, of the journalist Akil Sarhan, of sports TV channel al-Riyadia (member of the Iraqi media Network). His car was attacked by an armed group as he drove to work and he was killed on the spot. His assailants escaped.