Coronavirus coverage: Iraqi authorities lift suspension of Reuters license

Trucks are seen at Ibrahim Al-Khalil complex, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Zakho, Dohuk governorate, Iraq. (Reuters)

Iraqi authorities on Sunday lifted a suspension of Reuters’ license to work in the country.

The news agency’s license was suspended earlier this month over a report on the number of coronavirus cases in Iraq.

Reutershad published a story saying the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country was higher than officially reported.

The Iraqi Communications and Media Commission (CMC) informed Reuters it was lifting the suspension “to allow transparent and impartial work by the media ... in adherence to operating according to the regulations of media broadcasting rules” set out by the independent body.

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Reuters said it was “very pleased the suspension has been lifted and we can continue to report from Iraq.”

“We appreciate the efforts made by the Iraqi authorities and the CMC to promptly resolve the matter,” the agency said in a statement.

On April 14, Iraq’s media regulator said it was revoking Reuters’ license for three months and fining it 25 million dinars ($21,000) for what it said was the agency’s violation of the rules of media broadcasting.

In a letter to Reuters, the Communications and Media Commission (CMC) said it had taken the action “because this matter is taking place during current circumstances which have serious repercussions on societal health and safety.”

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Reuters said it regretted the Iraqi authorities’ decision and that it stood by the story, which it said was based on multiple, well-placed medical and political sources, and fully represented the position of the Iraqi health ministry.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54