Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Thursday (June 28th) said Iraq has made progress in ensuring freedom of the press.
In a speech delivered in celebration of Press Day, al-Maliki said that "prisons under the former regime were full of journalists and media professionals".
"Today we have the right to be proud that not a single journalist is in our prisons and detention facilities," he said.
Al-Maliki said he would hold himself personally responsible if any journalist or media professional was imprisoned "because of a word he said, an article he wrote or a programme he presented". The constitution guarantees this freedom, he said.
"This is part of the new Iraq that we all dreamt about of and is being realised today with freedom guaranteed for all," he said.
The Iraq Communications and Media Commission (CMC) announced Tuesday that it would suspend plans to close 44 mostly Iraqi media outlets in order to give them 45 days to "pay outstanding fees and renew their licenses".
The Journalism Freedoms Observatory had called the move "unconstitutional", AFP reported. The CMC denied its original decision was a crackdown on the press.