Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Iraq Event Charts Course for Information Age

IWPR and IREX join forces to stage event aimed at helping Iraqis exploit the potential of new technology.

A conference is taking place in Iraq this week to help chart the country's proper course in the emerging world of technology. Starting September 27, international media NGOs IREX and the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, will convene an unprecedented two-day gathering at the Erbil Convention Centre to discuss how Iraq can use technology, information and e-Governance to regain its economic and intellectual standing in the region.

This groundbreaking conference, entitled “Emerging Technologies, Emerging Democracies”, will bring together over 150 Iraqi civil society activists, public officials and media from across the country to learn from international experts in media law, new media technology and news management.

The respected BBC journalist Nik Gowing will open the conference with a keynote speech entitled “A Skyful of Lies and Black Swans”. In his address, Gowing will describe how the failure of officials and large corporations to embrace new technology could lead to their redundancy in the information era. This will be followed by exciting presentations from the ministry of science and technology and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The conference will include panel discussions on issues such as information access, new media and economic growth, as well as emerging internet laws and libel. It will demystify confusing concepts such as "digital democracy" and "media pluralism". And there will be hands-on training sessions on setting up and managing a blog, online advocacy strategies and visualising information.

Practices based on analogue media paradigms and grounded in the politics of information control have characterised the last four decades. Iraq’s youthful population is at risk of losing out. Professional media and civil society organisations must realise their rights to freedom of expression and access to information. The future is now.

The Institute for War & Peace Reporting is an international network of four not-for-profit organisations, specialising in media development and conflict-sensitive reporting that gives voice to people at the frontlines of conflict, crisis and change.

IWPR has worked in Iraq since 2003, providing professional training to reporters and activists, capacity building on sustainability and business development for media organisations and civil society. Currently, IWPR’s Iraq programme - which is funded by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, DRL, and operates out of four major offices around the country - implements five major programmes, including field safety and legal protection for reporters; business development for media organisations; media, communications and leadership training for women; elections coverage and analysis, and multimedia-based human rights reporting.

IREX (International Research & Exchanges Board) is an international non-profit organisation providing leadership and innovative programmes to improve the quality of education, strengthen independent media and foster pluralistic civil society development. Founded in 1968, IREX has an annual portfolio of 60 million US dollars and a staff of 500 professionals worldwide. IREX and its partner IREX Europe deliver cross-cutting programmes and consulting expertise in more than 50 countries.

IREX ( has worked in Iraq since 2005, supporting media and civil society organisations as well as government ministries and national authorities, through capacity building and technical assistance. The current programme, Media and Technology for Community Development, develops Iraq's independent media sector and strengthens local participatory governance using information and communication technology. It is also funded by DRL.

For more information please contact:

Saman Omer
Senior Media Coordinator, IREX Iraq
Tel: +964 (0) 7702 158 080

Hazim Boya
Media Officer, IWPR Iraq
Tel: +964 (0) 7700 839 393 

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