Stormy day in parliament

Independent MPs criticize interrogation of Iraqi TV boss as ‘political and vindictive’

Baghdad – Independent members of parliament have characterized the interrogation of Nabil Jasim, head of the Iraqi Media Network, as politically motivated, vindictive, and lacking a legitimate foundation. They pointed out that Jasim had already received final judicial rulings on most of the issues raised.

A parliament statement revealed that Jasim addressed various inquiries, including his tenure as editor-in-chief under the previous regime, the decision to print materials in Iran, and the absence of news coverage on his interrogation on the Iraqi channel.

Independent MP Sajad Salem, during a press conference attended by numerous MPs and covered by 964media, asserted:

“The questioning of the Iraqi Media Network’s head is a clear case of political targeting based on his views and affiliations. He effectively countered all inquiries, supported by judicial decisions that had previously cleared him of the same charges.”

Jasim faced allegations of affiliating with the Ba’ath Party among other baseless accusations.

“The majority must not leverage its authority to marginalize others for their beliefs and political stances,” stated Independent MP Nour Nafee, criticizing the interrogation’s questions as illogical and lacking professionalism, suggesting that political motives, quota distribution, and personal vendettas influenced the session.

MP Raed Al-Maliki from Maysan posed questions to Jasim in the parliament session held on Tuesday, focusing on his media involvement during the former regime and his leadership at the network.

Following the session, the parliament voted, expressing dissatisfaction with Jasim’s responses, which some MPs labeled as politically biased. However, MPs from the Coordination Framework commended the session’s conduct.

Earlier this week, 964media reported on a plot by top blocs in the Coordination Framework to carve leadership positions at the IMN among themselves, using Tuesday’s session as pretext.

Al-Maliki questioned Jasim about his role at Ishtar magazine, suggesting it supported the policy of the regime’s leader’s son, conflicting with the current objectives of the Iraqi Media Network.

Jasim acknowledged his past work at Ishtar magazine, emphasizing it was cultural, not political, and did not necessitate Ba’ath Party membership. He stated these accusations were a ploy by the previous Board of Trustees to terminate his role, noting the Iraqi judiciary had dismissed these claims. Jasim also mentioned his appointment was not hindered by de-Baathification laws, with prior vetting by the Integrity Commission and the parliamentary Culture Committee disproving the trustees’ allegations.

Concerning a security lapse attributed to Jasim for outsourcing the printing of sensitive election materials, he clarified the printing was a source of national pride, done under strict security surveillance without any breaches. He highlighted an appreciation letter from the Election Commission for the network’s expedient work.

Al-Maliki’s inquiry about the unauthorized printing of “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Iraq’s Civilization” in Tehran was refuted by Jasim, who confirmed the project’s completion on network premises using locally sourced materials, aimed at promoting Iraq’s cultural heritage.

Regarding accusations of not adhering to the Board of Trustees’ recommendations in a harassment case, Jasim clarified the board’s role and the judicial exoneration of his office director.

Al-Maliki also criticized Jasim for not broadcasting news of his interrogation and the related parliament session agenda, suggesting an intent to mislead the public and censor his grilling in parliament. Jasim countered, detailing the network’s protocol for publishing official news, highlighting the transparency and coverage of parliamentary activities on the Iraqi channel.