Iraq: MBC Arab broadcaster assaulted by a crowd of protesters

On 18 May, dozens of protesters stormed the premises of MBC broadcaster in Baghdad following its airing of a show critical of the Iraqi militia leader, Abu Mahdi Al Muhandi. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on the Iraqi Government to investigate the attack and guarantee the safety of MBC workers.

According to media reports, the MBC “Malek Beltawila” broadcast a debate about the killing of the wife of Nizar Qabbani, a famous Arab poet, in the 1981 attack on Iraq’s embassy in Beirut by the Iraqi Shi'a Islamist group al-Dawa. The programme alleged that Al-Muhandis, the militia's leader, was involved in the attack.

The angry protesters denounced as an “insult” naming the deceased Al-Muhandis in the program a "terrorist". The raid did not result in any injuries but left considerable damage to the equipment and studios.

Iraq’s Ministry of Interior announced in an official statement that authorities will investigate the incident and identify the perpetrators.

The Saudi-owned MBC Group said in a statement: “We hope to receive full details of the circumstances of the attack at the earliest and work with the authorities to hold the perpetrators accountable, as well as bring them to justice, in order to prevent similar attacks in the future.”

The IFJ said: “We express solidarity with the journalists of MBC and we call on the Iraqi government to hold to account the perpetrators. Any attack on media because of its reporting is unacceptable and is a big threat to press freedom."


For further information contact IFJ Middle East & Arab World on +32 (0) 2 235 22 11

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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