December 01, 2006

Democracy Marches On

Via Iraq Updates, a Reuters story:

Iraq's parliament will bar the media from future sessions and began yesterday by refusing access to reporters and then cutting off television coverage as a debate on mounting sectarian violence became heated.

Spokesmen for the government and parliament said it was part of efforts, newly agreed by Iraq's National Security Council, to stop political leaders contradicting each other in public and prevent media coverage that was deemed to inflame conflicts.

"If there is any tension in the state, then the media should be kept out because it may increase tension," speaker Mahmoud Al Mashadani told lawmakers in a televised session after dozens of journalists were barred from the building by security guards.

When one lawmaker rose to object, Al Mashhadani, from the Sunni minority, ordered the cameras turned off, effectively shutting off public access to a legislature whose election was held up by the United States as a beacon for democracy in the Middle East.

No transcript is published and journalists and members of the public have always been barred from the chamber itself.

To summarize: the Iraqi parliament has (since it's inception, I guess) kept no transcripts of their actions, and members of the public could not attend to see what their government was doing (thought they could watch it on TV). Since that limited degree of democracy was seen as contributing to a civil war, the parliment has decided to ban the media from covering parliment based on the logic that displaying the leadership contradicting each other "inflamed" the conflict. Thus, the media has been banned from covering the Iraqi legislature. Just to make sure people understand this, the Iraqi parliment cut off media coverage of the debate over whether the media should be allowed to cover parliment.

If irony isn't dead, it's sure laying broken and bloody on the ground.

Posted by baltar at December 1, 2006 09:01 AM | TrackBack | Posted to Free Speech | Iraq | Law and the Courts | Liberty

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