Iraq's premier drops lawsuits filed against journalists by previous governments

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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered the withdrawal of all pending government lawsuits against journalists and media outlets.

A statement issued Thursday says the move reflects his "keenness to ensure freedom of expression... and his desire that the media have a big role in building the country."

The statement went on to urge all media organizations to practice responsible journalism. It did not provide any details on ongoing cases against journalists in Iraqi courts.

Al-Abadi, who assumed office in September, has promised reforms following the eight-year rule of his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki, who was widely accused of monopolizing power and using state institutions to target political enemies.