Iraq Satellite TV Bombed after Airing Criticism of Kurd Leader
[An Nahar] A bomb exploded on the roof of an Iraqi satellite channel's offices a day after the broadcaster aired a caller's criticism of a revered Kurdish leader, an official said on Sunday.

The explosion in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah came as Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized the autonomous Iraqi region for infringing on free speech by wrongly detaining journalists, activists and opposition figures for insulting public figures.

On Friday evening, the Nalia television station briefly aired a caller's criticism of Mullah Mustafa Barzani, a Kurdish nationalist leader and the father of Kurdistan's current president, during its "Free Microphone" program before cutting off the caller.

On Saturday, 300 supporters of Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) tried to storm the broadcaster's offices but were turned away by riot police, an Agence France Presse journalist said.

Later that day, a bomb went off on the roof of Nalia's offices, a security official said. It was unclear who was behind the attack.

Abdulwahab Ali, the KDP's chief in Sulaimaniyah, said the party had not orchestrated the demonstration.

Nalia's offices were again attacked in February 2011 by masked gunmen who wounded a security guard and fired their weapons at the broadcaster's equipment.

Posted by: Fred 2013-02-11