Report criticises US bid to set up free media in Iraq

By Mary Stevens

The US-led authority in Iraq is failing in its attempts to set up an independent and reliable media following the war, it has been claimed.

There has been a burgeoning of local media, with the launch of 150 newspapers and many radio stations but most are run by rival political groups and have little input from trained journalists, says a report published by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

The report criticises the US authorities for putting their own spin on events in Iraq and says that the US-run Iraqi Media Network should not be producing stories and at the same time acting as the regulatory authority.

IWPR has called for a transparent media policy, the dismantling of the Iraqi Media Network, greater efforts to train Iraqi journalists, accessible official information and funds for the development of a regional media.

IWPR is undertaking its own project in Iraq to help develop an independent media.

Executive director Anthony Borden said: “The difference in Iraq from other post-war conflict areas is that it is a big-scale project. This is a major state with other parties, such as the US, involved. The challenge for a project such as ours is for it to be big enough to make a difference. Smaller projects will just get swallowed up and disappear.”

IWPR is recruiting UK journalists to help with the development of the Iraqi media. Anyone interested should contact Andrew@iwpr.net

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