This is What Democracy Looks Like? Iraqi Govt Shutters Arab Satellite Station

| Thu Sep. 7, 2006 10:56 AM PDT

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AP is reporting today:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iraqi government on Thursday ordered Arabic satellite network Al-Arabiya to shut down its Baghdad operations for one month, state television reported. Al-Arabiya said Iraqi police later arrived at its offices to enforce the order. ...

Al-Arabiya, which is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at first said its headquarters had not yet been informed of a ban, but later said on live television that police had arrived at its Baghdad offices to close its operations down.

The order apparently was issued by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Cabinet.

Al Maliki's office said AA put out news reports that "capitalize on the footage of victims of terrorist attacks," and called on media outlets to "respect the dignity of human beings and not to fall in the trap set up by terrorist groups who want to petrify the Iraqi people." (Didn't John Ashcroft say something similar about US media a few years back...?) Recall, the Iraqi government shut down the Baghdad news office of Al-Jazeera in August 2004. It remains closed.

In tangentially related news,

Al Arabiya is running a two-week training course for its correspondents in a drive to raise the standards of media professionalism in the region. Local Al Arabiya correspondents, as well as redional staff from Morocco, Sudan and Iraq will be taken through training sessions on subjects such as Arabic language and chief editing.

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