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Parliament In Iraq's Kurdish Region Passes Softer Media Law


Mas'ud Barzani

Mas'ud Barzani

Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region has passed a modified media law aimed at protecting journalists' rights and abolishing jail terms for offenses such as defamation.

An earlier version of the law passed by parliament last December carried tough sanctions for journalists, including imprisonment, fines of up to $8,400, and the closure of publications. After a widespread public outcry, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Mas'ud Barzani, rejected the law and sent it back to parliament.

The new law excludes jail sentences for journalists carrying out their duties and reduces fines that could be levied.

Kurdistan enjoys good security in comparison with other parts of Iraq. Still, about 60 Kurdish journalists were killed, threatened, attacked, or taken to court in the first half of 2008, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Iraq is the most dangerous place in the world for journalists to work. About 130 journalists and 50 media assistants have been killed in Iraq since 2003, according to the CPJ.

(by Reuters)

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