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Iraq28 May 2009

A step forward and a step back in prime minister’s lawsuits against news media

Reporters Without Borders deplores the libel suit that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has brought against the London-based Guardian newspaper. The press freedom organisation regards the lawsuit as all the more absurd as Maliki has just withdrawn a similar libel action against Kitabat, an Iraqi news website based in Germany.

Maliki is demanding a million dollars in damages from the Guardian for describing his government as “authoritarian” in an article. He initially called for the closure of the newspaper’s bureau in Baghdad.

A Baghdad court ordered Kitabat to pay 1 billion dinars (630,000 euros) in damages on 18 May as a result of lawsuit brought by the prime minister over a January article by reporter Ali Hussein accusing his chief of staff of nepotism.

Maliki finally withdrew his action against Kitabat today. Reporters Without Borders welcomes this decision as the damages award threatened the website’s ability to continue operating. See also: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=31404




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22 May - Iraq
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20 May - Iraq
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11 February 2009 - Tunisia
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19 March 2008 - Iraq
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Independent media brought under government control
2 June - Lebanon
French investigation at standstill four years after journalist Samir Kassir’s murder
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