Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nouri uses the military to bully journalists


That's Fakhri Karim, the owner and editor of Iraq's Al Mada newspaper.  He owned and operated the Al Mada Publishing House in Syria.  In the 1970s, he was the Secretary for Iraq's Communist Party.   In the 1980s, Saddam Hussein ordered him assassinated.  He was injured in the attack but survived and left Iraq.  Returning in 2003, he quickly started the newspaper and by 2004, it was garnering international headlines with its series on how Saddam Hussein had thrown lucrative oil contracts to supporters.

Sam Dagher profiled him in 2007 for The Christian Science Monitor and noted:

A seasoned newspaperman and publisher with shrewd political instincts and friends in high places, Fakhri Karim's rise to the top of Iraqi media mirrors in many ways the path of Orson Welle's Charles Foster Kane.  
Mr. Karim, owner of the Baghdad-based Al-Mada newspaper, considered the country's most professional, came from the most humble beginnings as a Shiite Kurd.  He was a young idealist, later an exile.  But today, he holds court with the country's most powerful, such as Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani, president of the autonomous Kurdish region.

Recently, Nouri al-Maliki closed down al-Baghdadi satellite channel in Iraq.  This is part of Nouri's ongoing war on a free press that didn't stop with his lawsuit against England's Guardian newspaper.  And as part of this war, Fakhri Karim is being targeted by Nouri -- Nouri's office issued a statement  attacking the Al Mada editor -- because Karim believes Iraq can be and should be everything outlined in the country's Constitution.  For that, for faith in Iraq's future, Karim is being publicly attacked by Nouri al-Maliki.

Al Mada reported Tuesday that Fakhri Karim has received orders to evacuate his home immediately -- military orders.  And to try to enforce them, Nouri sent a convoy of troops to Fakhri's home.  Shafaq News reported:

Fakhri Karim said in a statement briefed by "Shafaq News", that "within the series of (Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki) to prevent freedom of speech, his office has sent a military convoy led by a colonel to Qadisiyah complex to evacuate my house immediately."

Nouri used the military to shut down al-Baghdadi as well.  What is it with Nouri sending the military in to attack the press?

Because that's what petty dictators do, that's how tyrants intimidate, bully and control.

The world better start paying attention to what's going on in Iraq and that includes the disgraceful Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders who both issued reports on journalism around the globe last week and both ignored Iraq.
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