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Elections Daily Launched in Iraq

IWPR-trained journalists take part in innovative election reporting project.
By IWPR

IWPR Iraq has launched the country’s biggest elections newspaper, offering comprehensive coverage of politics and news for readers nationwide.

Metro, a 24-page newspaper produced in both Arabic and Kurdish, launched this week ahead of the March 7 parliamentary election. With 20,000 free copies distributed throughout Iraq daily, Metro is the largest elections newspaper with the widest reach in Iraq.

Working with a staff of 30 IWPR-trained local journalists and local news organisations, Metro will provide Iraqis in all 18 provinces with elections-related news.

In addition, the newspaper will offer essential information on the poll, including a step-by-step guide on how to vote and provincial profiles that detail the number of seats, voters, coalitions and candidates running in each governorate.

Election stories are also being produced by Metro Radio, which is broadcasting poll-related news through IWPR Iraq’s radio partners nationwide.

Metro editor-in-chief and IWPR Iraq country director Hiwa Osman said Metro is a vital outlet for unbiased and informative news in Iraq.

“Metro gives readers the opportunity to see all sides of the story in one place,” he said.

As well as the provision of news and information, Metro is planning to engage Iraqi readers by publishing citizens’ text messages, letters to the editor and interviews with people on the street in every issue. The newspaper will also offer informed comment and space for candidates to write op-eds.

IWPR Iraq has trained 650 journalists in elections reporting since 2008. Metro was first published during the 2009 provincial council polls and was praised for its objectivity and thoroughness.

"We spend all year telling journalists what good journalism is. Metro is a big opportunity to put those lessons into practice,” Osman said. “With every Metro we get new journalists on board. Those who worked on previous editions of Metro have been promoted in their jobs."

For this election, Metro has developed a unique content-sharing partnership between IWPR Iraq and Iraqi media outlets, including Aswat al-Iraq, a leading national news agency, Rudaw, an Erbil-based Kurdish newspaper, and Metrography, a news photo agency launched by IWPR trained-photojournalists.

The Metro project, which is headed up by an IWPR team of locally-based international editors, is part of our ongoing efforts to train Iraqi journalists and produce accurate and balanced reports for local audiences.

The newspaper will publish daily until the election, then three times a week until mid-April.

For more information, please contact the IWPR Managing Editor