Protection of Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Press in Iraq

The United States supports freedom of expression in Iraq as a key component of the country’s democratic foundation, as enshrined in the Iraqi Constitution.  We are concerned by recent actions to curb the operations of some media outlets through force or intimidation, specifically yesterday’s raid by Kurdistan Regional Government security forces of the NRT offices in Sulaimaniyah.  We are also troubled by calls by some federal and provincial officials to close offices of Al Sharqiya TV.  It is the duty of the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to protect the freedom of the press and to allow media to exercise their profession responsibly.  The United States believes that more voices, not fewer, are needed for democracy to flourish in Iraq and elsewhere in the region.