Jeffrey LewisFree Press in Iraq (What a difference a week makes)

The White House/’s 22 March 2004 Iraq Fact of the Day:

Fact #52: FREE PRESS IN IRAQ (03/22/04)

Free press is flourishing in Iraq and providing the Iraqi people with access to a variety of news sources. More than 646 journalists have credentials for the new international press center in Baghdad. Many of the journalists write for more than 200 Iraqi newspapers now in circulation across the country. This burgeoning free press is encouraging debate and democracy in Iraq.

From The New York Times, dated 29 March 2004:

American soldiers shut down a popular Baghdad newspaper on Sunday and tightened chains across the doors after the occupation authorities accused it of printing lies that incited violence.

Thousands of outraged Iraqis protested the closing as an act of American hypocrisy, laying bare the hostility many feel toward the United States a year after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

“No, no, America!” and “Where is democracy now?” screamed protesters who hoisted banners and shook clenched fists in a hastily organized rally against the closing of the newspaper, Al Hawza, a radical Shiite weekly.

If printing lies that incite violence justifies closing a newspaper, can someone padlock the doors to The Washington Times?

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