Iraq: July/Aug ‘07

Training session on reporting local governance prepares the ground for investigative reports.

Iraq: July/Aug ‘07

Training session on reporting local governance prepares the ground for investigative reports.

Wednesday, 26 September, 2007

Over the past several months, IWPR Iraq has forged ahead with new programmes and in-depth reports, despite challenging conditions on the ground. 

Media rights organisations consider Iraq the most dangerous country in the world for members of the press. IWPR contributors are not immune to the risks, but they are keen to continue working with us and want more opportunities to learn and grow as journalists. 

Demand for IWPR Iraq’s courses is very high. IWPR does its best to serve the country’s journalists by offering a variety of training sessions for novice and more experienced reporters. 

In August, IWPR trained 13 journalists in local governance reporting. The students learned about basic reporting skills, (such as information gathering and interviewing), service delivery and how to report on local government. 

IWPR trainers contrasted local government in Iraq with that in a number of different western countries, including Sweden, the United States and Germany.

In July and August, IWPR began publishing a series of special reports on local governance and service delivery, looking at security and education. These packages required some of IWPR’s more experienced contributors to write longer, more in-depth stories with investigative angles. 

The stories presented a new challenge for the reporters, who, as always, were eager to learn new reporting techniques. The reports dealt with sensitive subjects and required the journalists to ask difficult questions.

Security concerns meant that the pieces took longer than anticipated, but the reports were well worth the wait as they provided intriguing insights into subjects which are unreported in the mainstream international press. 

IWPR trainees said the local governance training session and assignments have bolstered the organisation’s reputation in the region.

“IWPR has a very strong and unique reputation in Iraqi Kurdistan. Every journalist hopes to participate at IWPR training courses because [those who do] are considered extremely reliable [reporters],” said Frman Abdul-Rahman. 

“IWPR has taught me how to be a professional journalist … and the experience has enabled me to get more work.”

“In my opinion, IWPR is the number one journalism organisation in Iraq because it has left a positive impact on every single trainee,” said another trainee, who asked not to be named in this report for security reasons. “I’m waiting for IWPR to organise more trainings so that I can learn even more.” 

Tiare Rath is IWPR’s Middle East editor.

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