When Haider al-Abadi took over as prime minister of Iraq in 2014, he lifted bans on media outlets that had been closed down under the former administration. The move was seen as an attempt to heal the rift between a nation that had been divided for too long.

Unfortunately Iraqi media has failed, and broadcast media in particular, to create a national identity for Iraqis.

Amal al-Jubouri, founder, Arab Human Rights Academy

Less than two years later, press freedom appears to be in decline once again. Iraq's Communications and Media Commission (CMC) appears to be going back on its word as satire shows, international news outlets and online news websites are being systematically shut down.

Critics say silencing the media is the government's way of dodging tough questions about political turmoil and the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group - an ever-growing threat in Iraq that continues to step up its attacks in the capital. 

International journalist protection committees and local reporters alike see the breakdown in media freedom as a means to "impose a single voice" in reporting on Iraq.

The question that arises, however, is whether this is for the protection of the Iraqi people or the Abadi government. 

Talking us through the story are: Rafid Jaboori, former spokesman for the Iraqi PM; Ibrahim al-Marashi, assistant professor at California State University; Amal al-Jubouri, founder of Arab Human Rights Academy; and Ali al-Khalidi, presenter at Al Iraqiya TV.

Source: Al Jazeera