Middle East

Iraq profile - media

Street cafe with man reading newspaper
Many media outlets are controlled by groups with a political or religious agenda

There are hundreds of publications and scores of radio and TV stations. But political and security crises have resulted in an increasingly fractured media scene.

Television is the main medium for news. Many media outlets have political or religious affiliations. For private media, advertising revenues seldom provide a reliable income.

The Iraqi Media Network (IMN) is a government holding company for outlets including Al-Iraqiya TV and Republic of Iraq Radio.

The autonomous Kurdistan region has its own established media.

Freedom of expression is protected by the constitution. But Reporters Without Borders says armed groups "have no compunction" about killing media workers.

Jihadist group Islamic State has been systematically persecuting news media and their employees since the start of its offensive in Iraq, Reporters Without Borders said in 2014.

IS aims to "monopolize media activity in the territory it conquers. It does not permit the free flow of news and information and only the most courageous journalists dare to transmit or share information."

Foreign broadcasters targeting Iraq include the BBC, Paris-based Monte Carlo Doualiya radio, and US-backed Al-Hurra TV, Radio Sawa and Radio Free Iraq. Many of them are available via local relays. The BBC is relayed in Baghdad and Basra.

Almost all homes have a satellite dish and there are dozens of Iraq-focused satellite TV networks.

Iraq's internet penetration is the lowest in the region. There were 2.7 million users by 2014, around 8% of the population (Internetlivestats.com). The most popular social media platform is Facebook.

After IS seized Mosul in June 2014 the authorities suspended internet services for a time in some mainly-Sunni regions, citing security reasons.

The press

  • Al-Sabah - sponsored by state-run Iraqi Media Network
  • Al-Zaman - private London-based daily, printed in Baghdad and Basra; English-language pages
  • Al-Mada - Baghdad, private daily
  • Al-Mashriq - Baghdad, private daily
  • Al-Dustur - Baghdad, private daily

Television

  • Al-Iraqiya - state-run
  • Al-Sharqiya - private, based in Dubai, satellite and terrestrial
  • Al-Sumaria - private, based in Beirut, satellite and terrestrial
  • Kurdistan TV - operated by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) from autonomous northern enclave
  • KurdSat - operated by Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) from autonomous northern enclave

Radio

News agency/internet

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