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Al-Baghdadia TV announces it is pulling out of Iraq for good

Victimised: The Syriac Catholic church of Sayidat al-Najat (Our Lady of Salvation) was stormed by members of Islamic State of Iraq, a local Al-Qaeda branch, as about hundred of people were attending mass on October 31. While holding their hostages, the militants spoke with Al-Baghdadia by telephone and were able to voice their demands on the air.

Al-Baghdadia, an Iraqi satellite TV station that has its headquarters in Cairo, has announced that it is ending all activities in Iraq as a result of a decision by the Iraqi government’s Communications and Media Commission (CMC) on November 1 to suspend the operations of all its bureaux, according to Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF).

“In view of the prime minister’s persistent determination in preventing Al-Baghdadia from working in Iraq, the station’s management has decided to close its bureaux in country,” Al-Baghdadia said in a November 25 statement posted on its website.

The CMC accused Al-Baghdadia of breaking the law by serving as a “mouthpiece for the terrorists” when armed militants stormed the Christian church of Sayidat al-Najat in Baghdad on October 31 and took hostages. The occupation ended in bloodbath.

The station had appealed against the closures. “We were on the point of reaching an agreement with the CMC,” the head of the station, Abdel Hamid As-Saeh, told AFP. “But then we learned that that the decision was not up to the commission and that it was the prime minister’s office directly that had the final word.”

RSF deplored the closure of the station’s bureaux, in which the government clearly used the CMC to get it what it wanted. "We urge Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to take a public position on Al-Baghdadia and to find a solution to this problem," it said.

Although based in Egypt, Al-Baghdadia is an independent, privately-owned Iraqi TV station that was launched in September 2005.

Date posted: December 5, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 138