Najafi condemns channel following a meeting about issue
Baghdad – Jaafar Al Nasrawi
President of the Iraqi Council of Representatives and Speaker of the House Osama Najafi has issued a decree banning the semi-official “Iraqi” channel from entering the parliament building, after he alleged the channel
produced “biased coverage.”
Najafi called the resolution alleging Iraqi’s lack of objectivity, after not broadcasting a consultative meeting in Najafi demanded discussion on the demands of Iraqi demonstrators on Sunday.
Channels belonging to the Iraqi Media Network [IMN] have faced similar charges before, accused of allegedly \"biased\" reporting by successive governments reportedly keen to appoint relatives in high-up positions within the network’s Board of Trustees.
IMN defended itself by describing the consultative meeting as \"not worth coverage.”
Network manager Mohammed al-Shaboot told Arabstoday: “I do not consider this a bias, rather an obligation to regulations stipulated in the work of the Iraqi Media Network.”
\"When a meeting is held, this is not news. But when a meeting is not held, that is news,” argued media boss al-Shaboot. “When political blocs attend parliament, this is normal. It is not normal when a bloc claims it has been boycotted. We are professionals and we know how to deal with the news,” he said.
Observers and experts have called Najafi’s decree a \"natural consequence\" of government control over the media network, with coverage allegedly influenced by the “likes and dislikes” of government.
Director of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory in Iraq Ziad Ajili believes that network reporting is “certainly biased” because IMN employees “owe their offices to government.”
“The Speaker’s decision is not justified,” Ajili added.
“When media coverage is biased it is a setback. But when the Speaker of the House decides to pan it, that is another setback,” he said, stressing that there was “no justification” to prevent broadcasters from doing the work.