Iraq rescinds decision to suspend Reuters’ licence

Reuters

Iraq’s media regulator has rescinded an earlier decision to suspend Reuters’ licence for three months over a report on the number of coronavirus cases in the country, the news agency said on Sunday.

Reuters said it was informed by the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission (CMC) that the suspension had been lifted.

The CMC told Reuters the move was aimed at allowing “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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“We appreciate the efforts made by the Iraqi authorities and the CMC to promptly resolve the matter,” the agency said in a statement.

A Reuters correspondent confirmed that work had resumed at its Baghdad office.

Iraq authority had on April 15 suspended the licence of the Reuters news agency after it published a story saying the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country was higher than officially reported.

Iraq’s media regulator said it was revoking Reuters’ licence for three months and fining it 25m dinars (21,000 dollars) for what it said was the agency’s violation of the rules of media broadcasting.

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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.”

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.

“We are seeking to resolve the matter and are working to ensure we continue to deliver trusted news about Iraq,” the news agency said in a statement.

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