BAGHDAD — Iraq has suspended plans to close 44 media operations in the country, including the BBC and Voice of America, after an outcry by press freedom advocates, an official said Tuesday.
The Communications and Media Commission that regulates the news media in Iraq will give the targeted organizations more time to pay outstanding fees and renew lapsed licenses, deputy director Ali Nasir said.
The commission denied that its previous order to close the agencies, most of them Iraqi, represented a crackdown on a free press. No media outlets were known to be actually shut down.
Still, the Iraqi press watchdog Journalistic Freedoms Observatory decried the order as "a setback to the freedom of journalism in Iraq."
The group accused the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of trying to silence critics. The dispute called into question the future of Iraq's fledgling democracy nine years after the ouster of Saddam Hussein and six months after the last of the U.S. troops who overthrew him withdrew.
The legacy of thousands of young American soldiers deaths, 10's of thousands permanently injured, 100's of thousands of Iraqi civilian's violent deaths, radiation pollution, gas prices tripling etc..etc..
eventually the exact same type of regime. If not today, then tommorow, the press will be silenced. And soon Iraq will once again be ruled by an iron fist, under a "fixed" democracy. This time however, he'll be sanctioned and bought off by American corporate interests and will promise to keep their prices tied to the American dollar and the oil production privatized to those same interests. Saddam was getting a little too uppity talking about changing selling oil in Euros. They'll soon have a good ole version of Saddam from the good ole days when he shook a paw on command to his masters.
And the chicken hawks who started it all will smirk at the world with their looted profits from their lofty perches.