The Arabic Al Hurra TV channel has been hit with a 3 month broadcasting ban. The channel is alleged to have transmitted a controversial 12 minute report on corruption within Islamic religious bodies. The programme was transmitted on Sunday.
Al Hurra TV, founded in 2004 and based in Virginia, US, is widely watched in Iraq. Al Hurra TV is funded by the US government’s US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) and beamed to 22 countries. It claims to be the 3rd most-popular pan-Arab news channel.
The ban will immediately affect Al Hurra-Iraq which specifically targets Iraqi viewers and as well as its satellite coverage it also holds a terrestrial broadcast licence.
Iraq’s Communications and Media Commission said it found the report lacking professionalism, balance, and reliable evidence. It ordered a “suspension of Al Hurra Iraq’s licence for three months and a halt to its activities until it corrects its position” and demanded that it transmits an apology.
Al Hurra stood by their report in a statement, calling it “fair, balanced and professional. During the extensive preparations of the report over time, individuals and institutions were given the right of reply, which they declined. We still offer those same institutions the opportunity to reply.”