Iraqi journalists stage protest

Hundreds of people demonstrate in Baghdad against "censorship and intimidation".

    Journalists have complained about a government
    plan to restrict some websites [EPA]

    "Journalists and media workers have lost 247 of their colleagues over the past six years because of attacks and violations," Emad al-Khafaji, a journalist and writer, told the crowd on Friday.

    "The participants in this demonstration have confirmed they will not back down in the face of intimidation and threats."

    Website ban considered

    Journalists are also concerned about government moves to ban some websites, including those deemed pornographic or to encourage bomb making, prostitution and "terrorism".

    Last month, the government passed a bill allowing imported publications to be screened.

    "Blocking internet websites and censoring books is a new dictatorship," Muhammad al-Rubaie, a human rights activist at the demonstration, said.

    The crowd at Friday's protest, who carried signs saying "do not kill the truth", shouted: "Yes, yes to freedom; no, no to being muzzled".

    The Iraqi constitution, which was drawn up in 2005, enshrines freedom of the press and publication unless "public order or morality" is violated.

    Constitution

    Ahmed Rushdi, an Iraqi journalist, told Al Jazeera that the government was considering laws to "capture and control any data broadcast, published or uploaded from Iraq".

    "This is not acceptable, this is an error in the constitution ... we'll not accept any capturing, we will not accept any silencing, I will not accept to break my pen for [the prime minister] Maliki's sake or any other government," he said.

    "Before 2003 there was such silencing, now there will be no silencing."

    Under Saddam Hussein, the deposed Iraqi president, the media was heavily censored.

    Since the US-led invasion in 2003 that led to Hussein's removal from power, about 200 print outlets, 60 radio stations and 30 television channels have been set up.

    But many media outlets are dominated by sectarian and party patrons who use them to push their own agendas.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Death from above: Every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Death from above: Every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Will you push the boundaries or play it safe?

    Will you push the boundaries or play it safe?

    Curate an art exhibition and survive Thailand's censorship crackdown in this interactive game.