Iraq national news agency launched by Reuters

Dominic Ponsford
 
The Reuters Foundation has launched what it claims is Iraq’s first “independent and commercially viable” news agency.
 
Last year the Foundation, a charity funded by
Reuters, established an online “news exchange” called
www.aswataliraq.info (Voices of Iraq) as a way for Iraq freelances to
share stories.
 
With funding from the United Nations Development
Programme and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation this has
now been developed into a news agency run and staffed by Iraqi
journalists with reporters in each of the country’s 18 regional
government areas.
 
So far Reuters Foundation has provided training for over 50 Iraqi journalists contributing to Voices of Iraq.
 
Reuters editor-in-chief Geert Linnebank said:
“The development of a robust, independent and reliable media industry
in Iraq is of fundamental importance to the world’s understanding of
this nation and its people.
 
“This new agency, the first of its kind in Iraq’s
history, will have a profound effect on how this country’s story is
told. Staffed and run by local journalists reporting on their own
people and governments, I am sure it will become an indispensable
source which will provide a much fuller picture than we have today of
the key issues and events really driving this country’s development.”
 
UNDP Iraq director Paolo Lembo said: “The
establishment of an independent news agency represents an important
step towards the strengthening of professional journalism in Iraq and
an incomparable means to facilitate social dialogue and promote
democracy”.
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