Baghdad TV station shut down for showing Saddam mourners

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Iraqi police officers

The Iraqi government has shut down the Baghdad studios of a privately-owned satellite TV station for "inciting sectarian violence" because it broadcast images of people mourning the execution of Saddam Hussein.

The press-freedom organization Reporters Without Borders on Tuesday condemned the interior ministry's decision to shut down the Al-Charkiya station, which follows the earlier closures of the al-Zaura and Salah-Eddin TV stations for showing footage of Iraqis protesting Saddam's death sentence.

"We are very concerned by the attitude of the Nuri al-Maliki government which is imposing more and more restrictions on the press," a statement issued by the Paris-based NGO read, adding that "[t]he authorities should show more restraint..."

Despite the closure of their Iraqi bureau, Al-Charkiya continues to broadcast from their Dubai and Amman offices.

Saddam was hanged Saturday for the summary executions of 148 Iraqi residents of Dujail, following an unsuccessful assassination attempt in 1982.