According to an Iraqi government proposal, foreign and domestic journalists would have to agree to a code of conduct if they want to cover the upcoming provincial elections, The Associated Press reports.
The code demands that coverage be "balanced and unbiased," The AP said, and it forbids "media from falsifying or misrepresenting information." One U.S. media analyst expressed concerns about the Iraqi government getting into the business of defining bias in the news.
Iraqi authorities contend the code would help safeguard fairness and prevent the distortion of facts in a politically charged environment, The AP said. The Jan. 31 vote is expected to redistribute power among the country’s ethnic and religious groups.
Journalists would have to sign on to the code of conduct in order to be credentialed for election events, The AP said — even press conferences. Code violators could face warnings or up to thousands of dollars in fines.