The Iraqi Constitution guarantees freedom of expression. However, conditions for the press and media workers are particularly harsh. The Publications Law prescribes prison terms for insulting the government, and libel and defamation are also criminal offences. This legislation is frequently used by the authorities to prevent journalists from reporting on major issues of public interest such as corruption cases. The Communications and Media Commission (CMC) is the primary body responsible for regulating broadcast media, and has released guidelines for media that place arbitrary restrictions on coverage. Under those guidelines, the authorities suspended Al Jazeera's license to operate in the country. Journalists operate in an extremely dangerous environment, facing violence and harassment from state and non-state actors. Since 1992, 174 journalists have been killed. The country also lacks national legislation guaranteeing access to information, although the government of the Kurdistan Region adopted the Right to Access Information Law, No. 11 of 2013. The Internet has also been restricted in the country as authorities slowed down the public’s connection on at least two occasions for unjustified reasons.
Civic Space Developments