Closed TV channel was `mouthpiece for terrorists`: Iraq body

Iraq`s privately-owned Al-Baghdadiya television channel was closed down because it had turned into "a mouthpiece for terrorists," the country`s media licensing commission said on Tuesday.

Updated: Nov 02, 2010, 23:37 PM IST

Baghdad: Iraq`s privately-owned
Al-Baghdadiya television channel was closed down because it
had turned into "a mouthpiece for terrorists," the country`s
media licensing commission said on Tuesday.

The Egypt-based station, whose programming focused
heavily on Iraq, was closed because it had aired demands made
by Al-Qaeda gunmen during Sunday`s hostage drama at a Baghdad
church that ended with 46 Christians killed, the commission
said.
"The closure came after a decision against
Al-Baghdadiya for violating the rules and regulations of
broadcast media organisations," the Communications and
Media Commission said in a statement.

"The channel had broadcast what it called the `demands
of hostage-takers`," it said, adding that "it had turned into
a mouthpiece for terrorists."

Two Al-Baghdadiya staff members were arrested for
being in contact with the hostage-takers, but security sources
said today that one had been released.
In telephone contact with Al-Baghdadiya the gunmen had
voiced demands that included freeing imprisoned militants in
Iraq and Egypt.

Iraqi troops cut the power from the privately-owned
channel yesterday, interrupting broadcasts for around 15
minutes. When transmission resumed it appeared to be from
outside Iraq.

It was an Al-Baghdadiya staffer -- Muntazer al-Zaidi
-- who in December 2008 notoriously threw his shoes at
visiting US president George W Bush.

PTI