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Changes and Challenges of the Iraqi Media
Iraq is a relatively small country but with a rich history that goes back to more than five thousand years ago (Simons, 1994). The ancient Greeks called it Mesopotamia, the land between the two rivers, which is often referred to as the Cradle of Civilization or the Cradle of Mankind. The ethnic makeup of the people of Iraq is Arab, Kurds, Turkoman, Assyrians, and others while the religious composition consists of Islam (Sunni & Shi’i), Christianity, and others. The Iraqi population is about 25 million people with the majority of them is under the age of 25. The official language of the country is Arabic while Kurdish is the primary language in the Kurdish areas. Other languages exist therein such as Turkish, Assyrian, and Armenian.
Recently, the National Communication and Media Commission, which is the first Iraqi independent regulatory body, reported that there are about “80 radio stations and 21 TV stations on the air inside Iraq” as well as a number of newspapers (Al-Qazwini, 2004, p.2). This prodigious number of broadcast and print media comes quickly on the heels of 35 years of dictatorship when the Iraqi media were stifled and the dignity of the Iraqi media practitioners was degraded. Essentially, this paper examines the changes and challenges that Iraqi media have encountered. The analysis will cover three major eras. Era I (Before 1958) deals with the monarchy; Era II (1958 – 2003) focuses on the media under military discipline; and, Era III (2003 to Present) discusses the media after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime.
Hana Noor Al-Deen
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