A Governmental document showed the determination of security authorities to impose conditions for controlling the media and forcing it to follow strict and confused rules and boundaries.
The document that the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory obtained a copy of it, oblige the media organizations to obtain security clearances for its functioning.
The national agency for information and investigations of the Ministry of Interior, has distributed official letters for the media organizations with an attachment consists of 16 conditions, most of them are considered as “clear threat” for freedom of the press.
The letter, distributed by the official agency in Baghdad and other cities of Iraq last December, says:” Based on the letter of Helms Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, labeled (Classified and Personal), with number M.T/8/1/1/publication/42/539 in 15/3/2009 ,which is requesting the implementation of the recommendations of the committee, with the attached letter of (office of the armed forces high commander) and the letter of (Directorate General of Technical Affairs) at 2009-3-30 No. 2202. "
The official letter threatened media institutions with confiscating their equipments in case they did not provide the security authority with all the information concerns the broadcasting equipments, list of the employees and their documents.
The letter provided a time limit of 4 months for registering the broadcast devises and equipments “otherwise, the unregistered devises and equipments will be confiscated.” The letter did not refer to any low or court order to base on.
The letter, named (temporary security approval for Radio, T.V. and satellite broadcasting), shows the ignorance of government institutions of the media business, as indicated in paragraph 11 of the security approval document “the performance of licensees will be assessed by the relevant security agencies to ensure compliance with the terms and controls of the license in addition to all the other rules, regulations, orders, directives and other instructions.”
This paragraph shows clearly the determination of government authorities to impose directives and instructions to media organizations without recourse to the law or the constitution, which means, giving the absolute authorization to the security authorities in handling the media and disable the Iraqi constitution.
Strangely enough, in this document (security clearance) that paragraph 15 gives the security authorities the right to issue additional rules and laws by its self.
Those limitations and instructions (as usual) are without constitutional or legal reference and they conflict with the principles of the Iraqi constitution which stated that the Communications and Media Authority is responsible for organizing the satellite broadcasting. The document may damage the authorization of this media authority.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory calls upon those who worked to put these contrary to the values of media freedom and democracy controls to take them back immediately and not to pass it to the media organizations and limit the permitions, broadcasting licenses and organizing frequencies, to the Communications and Media Authority on legal bases that do not interfere with the Iraqi constitution’s principles; Otherwise, Journalistic Freedoms Observatory will sue the governmental agencies that interfere with the media and restrict its work.
Then, the Iraqi judiciary would issue the crucial judgment to ensure the application of the articles of the Constitution.