Iraq Shuts Down Al-Jazeera Office, Saying It Incites Violence

April 29, 2016

Iraqi authorities have shut down Al-Jazeera's Baghdad office, accusing the Qatar-based TV network of inciting "violence and sectarianism."

Iraq's Communications and Media Commission sent the network a letter informing it of its March 24 decision to revoke the bureau's license and close its office for one year.

The pan-Arab network denied on April 28 that it had violated regulations or deviated from professional and objective coverage. It said Iraq's decision contradicts the government's "commitment to guarantee freedom of expression."

"We remain committed to broadcasting news on Iraq to Iraqi people, our viewers in the Arab world, and across the world," it said.

Al-Jazeera has repeatedly come under fire from the Iraqi authorities for coverage perceived as too friendly to the Islamic State extremist group and hostile to the country's Shi'ite majority.

Many in Iraq suspect Qatar, which funds Al-Jazeera, intentionally sponsors hard-line Sunni groups to counter the expanding influence of Iran and Shi'ite Islam in the region.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP