IWPR Programming in Iraq


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Marcel SmitsIWPR Iraq

Ammar al-Shahbander
Chief of Mission
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Tel: +964 (0)7809 124 345


Programme Highlights

Article on divisive content of textbooks on Islam got education officials working on something both faith communities could live with.

Participants study marketing and photography in preparation for female-run advertising agency.

Enhancing financial management forms part of efforts to build female-run advertising and design agency.

Funds to become more readily available after story on concerns of Iraqis living in Syria.

As part of its Human Rights Media Links programme, IWPR has created a new Facebook page in Arabic to inform and connect a network of lawyers, journalists, activists and others interested in human rights issues.

Since the fall of the old regime, IWPR has worked to build skills, enhance institutions and support reliable media production across the country, working with local journalists and media outlets. Our goal is to establish a widespread culture of professionalism, seeking to inculcate an appreciation of international skills and standards – what some Iraqis now refer to as the “IWPR approach” to balanced and responsible reporting. Our work is distinguished by a hands-on, practical approach to training and production. Workshop-based formal instruction is supported by extensive follow-on mentoring in producing quality reporting. Expert support, guidance and feedback over the entire course of the journalistic process layer in experience-based learning for the long-term, while resulting in an increase of factual, reliable and high quality reporting.

As a result of this work, hundreds of Iraqi journalists have been engaged in intensive formal training with significant media outputs in print, broadcast and digital formats, reaching a national audience. We have also established an extensive network of media and civil society partners across the country and established a reputation as the leading media-development provider in Iraq.

Our current work underway in Iraq includes five major programmes:

  • Media Development – building the capacity and infrastructure of a core group of Iraqi media through the promotion of reliable, fact-based reporting and debate on political, governance and development issues. Focusing on good governance, we are bringing together journalists and activists from different parts of Iraq to create a grassroots network of journalists and activists.
  • “Iraqi Rights” TV Human Rights Magazine – producing and broadcasting bi-weekly TV programming on human rights to improve public engagement on crucial issues.
  • Women’s Media Initiative – our longest running program in Iraq, strengthening the voices and position of women in Iraq through leadership training, increased political participation, journalism training, and the production of a radio program for and by women, “The Other Half”, broadcast over the airwaves across the country.
  • Safety, Security & Legal Protections – working to reduce the number of death and injuries of Iraqi journalists by providing training and support to those who face violence while reporting; and promoting greater awareness of media-related legal issues, providing support to journalists facing undue prosecution by the state.
  • Understanding & Reporting on Elections in the 18 Governorates – implementing a country-wide election training, networking and public outreach project that covers all ten provinces of Iraq and provides capacity building and assistance to Iraqi institutions and local media. Our election-focused newspaper Metro, and hour-long radio show Metro Iraq Radio, received rave reviews by the public and local and international sectors. Our one-of-a-kind Elections Watchdog project worked with media and civil society to inform and mobilize the public around the 2010 elections there, making innovative use of new media technology combined with print, radio and video for public outreach.