Iraq issues marching orders to CNN

MUMBAI: The wheel has come full circle. CNN, which made its reputation covering the 1991 Gulf War from Baghdad, has been ordered to leave Iraq along with two other US TV news broadcasters.

Journalists working for CNN, ABC and NBC have been ordered to leave the country within the next few days by Iraqi officials, who have accused them of being a propaganda machine for the US government, The Guardian has reported.

The Guardian has quoted the BBC and US broadcaster CBS as saying they had not been asked to leave the city.

Journalists for CNN have been expelled briefly from Iraq on five occasions since the broadcaster first opened a Baghdad bureau in 1990. However, Jane Arraf, the current CNN bureau chief, has been based in Baghdad for four years and her departure will effectively close CNN's Baghdad bureau for the first time.

The Iraqi authorities have told CNN that when its staff are allowed back into the country, only one non-Iraqi journalist will be granted a visa and for no longer than 10 days.

That seems a load of bombast on the part of the Iraqis though. The way the US-led putsch is proceeding, CNN's absence from Baghdad should not be of too long a duration.

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