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Freedom of the press in Iraq

Iraqi journalists protested against censorship in Baghdad on 14 August. Dozens took part in the demo at Baghdad’s old book market, carrying signs which read “Do not kill the truth”, and chanting “Yes to freedom. No to silencing journalists”.br /The Iraqi Deputy Culture Minister said the government is against any threats made against journalists. He believes that It’s the very duty of journalists to reveal the truth, and the government is against any kind of censorship of the media.br /Since the fall of Saddam, Iraqi media have flourished. However, about 200 Iraqi media say is a growing state interference in their work. This following the introduction of new rules for censoring books, and a proposal to ban certain websites. Authorities say they will only block websites that are pornographic, or incite violence or criminal behavior. Media workers have frequently been targeted or caught up in the violence in Iraq, with at least 190 being killed since March 2003. Last year, as security improved, and the national govt began to gain strength, journalists started to complain about new government pressure. The Assn for Protection of Journalists says that there’s been a dramatic increase in lawsuits against media workers, especially those who try to cover govt corruption and security.br /Earlier this year, PM Nouri Maliki told reporters to be more co-operative and less critical of the govt. The BBC’s Natalia Antelava in Baghdad said that it was a disturbing statement for those who lived for years without any freedom of expression. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi media have flourished, and many journalists would often say that physical danger was a trade-off for their newly found freedom to report. They now fear their freedom is now under threat.

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