Category: Politics / April 29, 2013 12:41 PM EDT
Iraq's media regulator said on Monday (April 29) that the government had nothing to do with its decision to suspended the licenses of ten satellite news networks, including Al Jazeera.
The Communication and Media Commission (CMC) regulator took action on Sunday (April 28), accusing the networks of inciting violence through their coverage of clashes triggered by a security force raid on a Sunni Muslim protest camp in Hawija last Tuesday.
More than 170 people have been killed in the past week in the worst violence Iraq has seen since Sunnis started staging protests in December to complain about their treatment by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led government.
The CMC said sectarian language used in the reports encouraged "criminal acts of revenge by attacking the security forces".
Most of the channels are pro-Sunni and often critical of the Shi'ite-led government. Al Jazeera is based in Qatar, a Sunni-ruled kingdom.
The watchdog is powerless to stop the channels broadcasting, but may make it harder for their local staff to cover events.
Last June, the CMC ordered the closure of 44 media outlets including the BBC and Voice of America. It does not have the power to stop them broadcasting from overseas.
Video Source: Reuters