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Iraq Shutters Al-Jazeera Baghdad Office


FILE - A security guard walks outside the Al-Jazeera building in Baghdad April 28, 2013. Iraq’s media commission on Thursday ordered the Qatar-based broadcaster’s Baghdad bureau closed for one year, citing ‘continuing violations’ of rules.

There is one less media outlet providing news coverage in Iraq after the Iraqi government shut down the office of Al-Jazeera in Baghdad.

Iraq's Communications and Media Commission decided to revoke Al-Jazeera's license and close its office for one year, effective Wednesday. Iraq cited Al-Jazeera's "continuing violations" of 2014 rules issued into regulate media coverage of "the war on terror."

Iraqi authorities have long perceived Al-Jazeera's media coverage as hostile to Iraq's Shi’ite majority and too friendly toward Islamic State.

The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera Media Network denied violating the rules, maintaining it has consistently provided professional and objective coverage.

"Al-Jazeera is committed to its editorial principals in the coverage of current affairs in Iraq," the company said on its website.

Al-Jazeera expressed hope its Baghdad bureau can resume operations as soon as possible, "in the spirit of the press freedoms guaranteed by the Iraqi constitution."

This is the third time Iraq has banned Al-Jazeera from reporting in the country. Al-Jazeera was prohibited in 2013 from reporting on a military crackdown allegedly on Sunni Muslims. Iraq imposed the ban after blaming Al-Jazeera's TV stations for promoting banned terrorists groups who committed crimes against Iraqis.