Iraq suspends US-funded broadcaster Al Hurra over graft investigation

Al-Hurra TV is a popular Iraq channel that was founded in 2004 by the US Congress and directed from Washington (AFP)
Updated 02 September 2019

Iraq suspends US-funded broadcaster Al Hurra over graft investigation

  • The country’s media regulator shut down the local offices of Al Hurra television
  • It accused the network of bias and defamation

BAGHDAD: Iraq has suspended the license of a US-government funded broadcaster after it ran an investigation alleging corruption within the country’s religious institutions.
The country’s media regulator on Monday shut down the local offices of Al Hurra television — a broadcaster funded by the US Agency for Global Media — for three months, accusing the network of bias and defamation in their report.
“The program failed to uphold the principles of media professionalism,” a statement from the Communications and Media Commission (CMC) said, accusing the reporters of using anonymous sources to defame and to cause moral injury.
The investigative report, which aired last week, alleged corruption within the Sunni and Shiite Muslim endowments — state bodies that administer religious sites and real estate — including foundations linked to Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani.
The Sunni endowment denied the allegations in the report and said they would take legal steps against the channel. The Shiite endowment could not immediately be reached for comment.
In addition to the three-month suspension, Al Hurra must stop all activities until “they correct their position” and must issue a formal apology, the CMC decision said.
Al Hurra said it would issue a statement shortly.
Iraq is currently ranked near the bottom of Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) media freedom index. It owes its current ranking of 156 out of 180 countries to routine attacks, arbitrary detentions and intimidation of journalists by militias and pro-government groups, according to RSF.
“Iraq still has no law on access to state-held information,” RSF says on its website. “Investigative reporting on corruption or embezzlement exposes journalists to serious threats.”
Neither the US Department of State nor the US Embassy in Baghdad oversees the content of Al Hurra’s programming, Embassy Spokesperson Pedro Martin said.
“Alhurra’s mission is to deliver accurate and objective information on the region, American policies and Americana,” he said. “The Government of Iraq has the right to question Al Hurra on any reporting that is perceived to be false or unprofessional and has the right to respond with their position.”


Legendary Japanese Mangaka Go Nagai adds master strokes to Arab News Japan

Updated 18 October 2019

Legendary Japanese Mangaka Go Nagai adds master strokes to Arab News Japan

  • Creator of world-famous anime series Grendizer and Mazinger Z looks forward to visiting Saudi Arabia in the near future
  • In honor of Arab fans, Nagai has personally hand-drawn masthead of upcoming Arab News Japan edition

TOKYO: Go Nagai, the internationally-renowned Japanese artist known for legendary anime creations such as “Grendizer” and “Mazinger Z” is looking forward to visiting Saudi Arabia and meeting Arab fans.

In an exclusive interview for the upcoming Japanese edition of Arab News, Nagai thanked his Saudi fans for their appreciation of his works, such as the “UFO Robot Grendizer” animated TV series.

“I really appreciate that people in Saudi Arabia love Grendizer I created. I hope you will continue enjoying my work in the future,” he told Arab News.

Nagai also expressed a desire to visit Saudi Arabia in the near future.

“I’m sure I will be surprised by many things when I visit Saudi Arabia," he said. “Each country has a long history and a rich culture, so when I go to Saudi Arabia I would like to enjoy the culture and history and absorb something new as well.”

Go Nagai is also a prolific author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. The full Go Nagai interview will run in Arab News Japan in both English and Japanese next week. In honor of his Arab fans, Nagai has also personally hand-drawn the masthead of the upcoming Arab News Japan edition.

Arab News Japan will launch in Tokyo at a special event held at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ) on Oct. 21, a day before the highly anticipated enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito.

The launch of a dual Japanese-language online edition is a part of the ongoing global expansion plan of Arab News, the Middle East’s leading English language daily.

Arab News Japan is the second international edition under the Arab News brand, following the highly successful launch of its Pakistani edition in February 2018.

Faisal J. Abbas, Arab News Editor-in-Chief, announced the Arab News Japan project at the G1 Global conference in Tokyo on Sept. 16.

“We hope that our new service arabnews.jp helps bring a better mutual understanding of both our rich cultures and become a trusted communication channel where our friends in Japan can rely on us for credible information and insightful analysis,” Abbas said on the occasion.

Arab News is part of the regional publishing group Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG). It has been the English language newspaper of record for Saudi Arabia and the region for more than 40 years.