Iraqis including journalists, writers and booksellers demonstrated in central Baghdad on Friday against what they say is state censorship.

The protest came as the Iraqi government considers banning some websites and after the imposition of book censorship rules. Journalists also object to draft legislation they say leaves them exposed to government interference in their profession.

On Thursday, Baghdad's military spokesman said a television station had been fined for what he said was a personal attack against him, raising fears of a state clampdown on the media.

Blocking internet websites and censoring books is a new dictatorship, said Muhammad al-Rubaie, a human rights activist at the demonstration of some 200 people.

It was held at Baghdad's Mutanabi street, famous for its old and numerous bookshops.

They want to stop the free word from unveiling corruption. We will work in parliament to cancel any censorship that limits the freedom of expression, the head of Iraq's Integrity Commission in parliament, Sabah al-Saedi, said.

Other Iraqis complained of the danger of returning to Saddam Hussein-era censorship.

Iraq's 2005 constitution enshrines freedom of the press and publication unless they violate public order or morality.

Under Saddam Hussein, heavy censorship was the norm. State propaganda dominated the media, glorifying the government and demonizing enemies like the United Sates, Iran and Israel.

Since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, a proliferation of media has given Iraqis a choice between some 200 print outlets, 60 radio stations and 30 TV channels in Arabic, Turkmen, Syriac and two Kurdish dialects.

Yet most media outlets remain dominated by sectarian and party patrons who use them for their own ends, and the government occasionally threatens to close the offices of media outlets that have offended it.

Iraq says a website ban would only affect those sites deemed pornographic, or that incite violence or encourage crimes such as bomb making, prostitution and terrorism.

The country has been plagued by bomb attacks since the U.S. invasion in 2003, and sectarian slaughter between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims has only abated in the last 18 months.

Other countries also ban some websites that incite hatred or are encourage crime.

(Writing by Mohammed Abbas; Editing by Samia Nakhoul)