Police prevented TV cameramen and news photographers from filming the scene of a bombing Tuesday under a new policy limiting coverage of the devastating explosions that have become a hallmark of Iraq’s violence.
To enforce its order that a group of Iraqi journalists leave Tayaran Square, where the bombing occurred, police fired several shots in the air, reporters said.
Brig.-Gen. Abdel Karim Khalaf, the operations director at the Interior Ministry, said on the weekend that Iraq’s government had decided to bar news photographers and TV cameramen from the scene of bombings.
Khalaf denied the government was trying to curtail press freedom.
He said the order was aimed at preventing journalists from inadvertently tampering with evidence needed for investigations.
The government also wanted to protect the privacy and human rights of those wounded and keeping insurgents from keeping track of their success rate, Khalaf said.
U.S. and Iraqi forces launched a security crackdown in Baghdad three months ago in an effort to improve security in the capital, where scores of people often die each day in roadside and suicide bomb attacks, as well as in sectarian violence involving majority Shiites and minority Sunnis.