Iraq's Communications and Media Commission has revoked the licence of Qatar-based state-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera for reportedly violating the country's official code of conduct and broadcasting rules and regulations that were issued in 2014 to regulate media coverage of "the war on terror". The commission also shut down the news outlet's offices in Baghdad.
This is the third time that Al Jazeera has been banned from reporting in Iraq. In 2013, in all nine satellite channels were banned from reporting on a military crackdown allegedly on Sunni Muslims. The state blamed the stations for promoting banned terrorist organisations who committed crimes against Iraqi people.
Reacting to the 27 April ban, Al Jazeera said that it was appalled and shocked by the decision. The Doha-headquartered company said on its website: "Al Jazeera is committed to its editorial principles in the coverage of current affairs in Iraq. It abides by its code of ethics in its coverage and programming, and by the highest global standards of professionalism, and has been doing so since its launch.
"The network hopes that its Baghdad bureau can resume operations as soon as possible, in the spirit of the press freedoms guaranteed by the Iraqi constitution."
Activists have previously voiced concern over Iraq's media guidelines that impose restrictions on journalists from covering important insurgencies and the requirement to cover events in the government's favour.
Al Jazeera, which was founded in 1996 by the ruling family of Qatar, has been actively reporting important issues that concern the Middle East. The Arab Spring and the ongoing Syrian civil war have been covered extensively by the network. However, it has been criticised for backing rebels in Syria and many supporters of the Iraqi government have accused it of supporting the dissenters in Iraq.