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Iraq's failing health - Mayada, the GP

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Mar 07, 03:09 PM

For Newsnight's Window on Iraq - a series of audio, video and text blogs as part of our in-depth Iraq coverage - Mayada, a Baghdad GP, explains how doctors are finding it increasingly difficult to deliver healthcare.

mayada203listen.jpgI am a GP at a health centre in one of Baghdad’s poorer districts. It is not an area you would choose to work in but I hold on to my position for two reasons. The first is I get on very well with my colleagues and the second is because the area is relatively safe – at least during office hours – and this makes all the difference between having to give up your job or being able to continue.

The situation for the staff and patients has deteriorated a lot over the last year and as a result the services we are able to offer have suffered. It was much better when I started work here three years ago.

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Iraq 2020 - Monday, 19 March, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Mar 07, 02:08 PM

kurdishfighter2020.jpgWhat will Iraq be like in 2020? Here at Newsnight we've dramatised two different futures for the country based on two academics' visions. Watch the films and read the academic assessments here. We also want to know what you think will happen. What must happen in order for things to improve? Will democracy survive? And when will coalition forces leave? Join the debate below.

BBC's Iraq coverage - biased or balanced?

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Mar 07, 10:47 AM

To coincide with the BBC's week-long examination of the situation in Iraq four years after the US-led invasion, Newsnight has invited critics of the BBC's coverage of the conflict and its aftermath to set out their arguments. Here, Media Lens, an online group that monitors mainstream media output, argues that BBC reporting too often follows the establishment lines. We're keen to debate the issue so read the piece and post your views and comments below.

The Bias In BBC 'Balance'

The BBC's claim that it provides balanced news reporting does not stand up to scrutiny.

Saddam's statue is toppled in BaghdadAs Baghdad fell to US tanks on April 9, 2003, Andrew Marr, then the BBC's political editor, hailed the invasion as a great triumph. Of Tony Blair, Marr declared: "tonight he stands as a larger man and a stronger prime minister as a result". (Marr, BBC 1, News At Ten, April 9, 2003)

This is the standard BBC version of objective news reporting. The UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, took a different view of the invasion:

"From our point of view and from the [UN] charter point of view, it was illegal."

Indeed it would be hard to find a better example of the supreme war crime - the waging of a war of aggression.

Before the invasion, Bush and Blair insisted that the pretext was a "single
question": Would Iraq eliminate its weapons of mass destruction? As late as February 2003, Blair affirmed that Saddam could still save his regime:

"I hope, even now, Iraq can be disarmed peacefully, with or without Saddam."

When not a single weapon of mass destruction was found, the story quickly changed and BBC reporting changed with it: the liberation of Iraq, not its disarmament, we were told, was the guiding concern. The BBC's Washington correspondent, Matt Frei, said:

"There's no doubt that the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially now to the Middle East... is now increasingly tied up with military power." (BBC1, Panorama, April 13, 2003)

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