Iraqi court screws newspaper

It really doesn’t matter is a person is a liberal or conservative. If that person supports democracy, he/she supports (often grudgingly) independent media.

So while the United States and its junior partners work to stabilize Iraq and help establish the infrastructure necessary for a democratic political system, laws that forbid criticism of the president and other national leaders remain on the books.

The Guardian of London was recently fined 52,000 pounds (about US$87,000) for and article the court said defamed the prime minister.

Iraqi court rules Guardian defamed Nouri al-Maliki

The article in question, by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, an award-winning staff correspondent for the Guardian, quoted three unnamed members of the Iraqi national intelligence service who claimed that the prime minister was beginning to run Iraqi affairs with an authoritarian hand

And, the Guardian reports, this is part of a larger effort to keep the media down.

Iraqi court ruling against Guardian seen as part of crackdown on media

The prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and several of his ministers have launched at least four legal actions against foreign press outlets over the past year. The Guardian, the New York Times and the wire service AP have all been served with writs, while Al-Jazeera has been forced out of Iraq, allegedly because of an anti-government bias. Local outlets are also being targeted, with representatives from the staunchly anti-government Al-Sharqiya channel now banned from all government events and buildings and the Al-Baghdadia channel, made famous by the shoe-throwing antics of its former reporter Muntazer al-Zaidi, also under threat of a boycott.

It would be nice if there was more reporting like this in the U.S. press.

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