The Directorate of Media, Printing and Publishing in Erbil, within the Ministry of Culture and Youth of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), has stopped all local broadcasting of the NRT satellite channel.
The channel said in its press release, “The Directorate announced that its decision was because the channel did not comply with the law; and because of its activity against the regional referendum [on Kurdish independence]”, and ordered the suspension of broadcasting in all provinces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for a week beginning August 28. The channel accused “the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of being behind the decision to shut down the channel throughout the province.”
The Ministry of Culture and Youth in the KRG had announced earlier that it would punish media that was working against the referendum in the Kurdistan Region.
The Association for the Defense of Press Freedom in Iraq condemned this ban on the media on the pretext of violating the policy of a party in the region. It views the measure as a clear violation of the Constitution and Iraqi law, and of local laws passed by the Parliament of the Kurdish Region of Iraq.
The Association calls on the KRG to end this harassment of the media, and appeals to international organizations to support freedom of expression and a free press in the Kurdish region, since the Association’s appeals to the Iraqi federal government to intervene on behalf of a free press have all failed.