BAGHDAD - An Iraqi regulatory body has ordered the closure of 44 media outlets in the country including the BBC and Voice of America in a dispute over broadcast licenses, sources with knowledge of the order said on Sunday, but no action has yet been taken.
Other organizations targeted for shutdown include privately-owned local TV channels Sharqiya and Baghdadia as well as US-financed Radio Sawa.
A senior source at the Communications and Media Commission (CMC), the body responsible for the order, said the move had nothing to do with the way the outlets had reported on sectarian conflict in the country, as some reports have suggested.
"The CMC sent such a letter warning them that they're going to shut down their services because they didn't pay (their license fees)," a senior source at the CMC told Reuters.
The regulator had passed its order to the Baghdad operations command, the source added, referring to the local law enforcement forces who would carry out the closures.