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

Project Developments – 31 March 2007

By IWPR


Key
Quarterly Accomplishments: 
During the second quarter of
this project, IWPR conducted training for reporters and activists, produced
features and investigative reports and conducted perception surveys of local
governance.  A summary of the key
accomplishments are:



 



- Trained twenty local Iraqi
reporters and NGO activists on investigative reporting and local governance;



- Produced feature stories;



- Produced short investigative
reports;



- Produced two governance reports;



- Researched and produced governorate
profiles;



- Started conducting service delivery
perception surveys;



- Continues the editorial mentoring
process for the trainees via regular meetings and follow up;



- Continued to hold consultation
meetings with NGO leaders, editors and relevant governmental bodies;



 



Project Impact



Although it is early to measure the impact, the
consultation process provides important insights into the preliminary impact of
the project; Ali Fadhil, an activist from Baghdad and the founder of Iraq The
Model, believes training journalists on covering local governance issues is
fundamental for the day to day survival of the simple Iraqi citizen “People
here lack the simplest of the services, and unfortunately reporters – despite
the press freedom that we enjoy today- do not think out of the box. They still
cover only big politics, while the real journalism is informing the people
about issues that impact their daily lives; and here is the real value of
IWPR’s local governance reporting project. I really enjoyed reading your
governance report, it was very informative.”



 



Dalia Awchi, the director of Friends of Democracy, a
local NGO in Baghdad
thinks Iraqi journalists lack specialisation which makes their reporting
ineffective, she also is convinced that service delivery reporting has a
special value for the Iraqi citizen: “It is good that IWPR is training the
reporters on specific local governance and services issues. It is something
that we really need and miss, I’m a frequent reader of your Iraq reports
and really appreciate your coverage, especially your recent coverage on rule of
law and security and hope you write more about health, education and other day
to day concerns.”



 



The
impact of this project is not limited to the end users, a number of trainees
feel the recent specialist reporting skills have been extremely useful. Salam
Radhi, a reporter from Basra said “The skills and qualifications I have got
from IWPR journalistic training enabled me to improve my skills dramatically
and help me get a better job, after completion of this training I was offered a
new job at the Basra radio station, where I will be able to use my newly
acquired skills to report on local issues for the people of Basra. Without the
IWPR training I would not have obtained this work opportunity.



 



Training



The Trainees: In consultation with the
IRI Erbil office, IWPR selected twenty participants from six governorates via
its extensive contact network. The selection of the participants was finalised
through a rigorous filtration process according to the following criteria:



 



Participating Civil Society activists;



- Were recommended by IRI
field office in Erbil



- Have been actively
working for a  local NGO for at least one
year



- Have been involved in
local governance, transparency & governance issues



 



Participating reporters;



- Have undergone the basic
skills training provided by IWPR



- Have been working for a
media outlet for the past year



- Have passed a general
knowledge test



- Have passed a language
test; Arabic or Kurdish, depending on region



- Have passed an in-depth
personal interview



- Are willing to conduct
investigative research in-spite of risks and danger



 



A total of twenty participants -16 male and 4 females-
were selected from six governorates. During this quarter fourteen –10 male and
4 females- out of the twenty participants have been and continue to be involved
in reporting projects.



 



The Training: At our Sulaimaniya
headquarters, led by IWPR’s investigative reporting trainer Christoph Reuter
and in cooperation with IRI Erbil office, the participants were instructed in a
highly intensive training course over a period of ten days, spending
approximately 11 hours a day in theoretical lectures and practical exercises.
The trainees were provided with a set of skills and experiences necessary for
conducting investigative reporting in an unstable and dangerous environment.
The training course was customised for Iraqi conditions to increase its
applicability on the ground. The topics of the training included:



 



- The role of local &
provincial governance



- Service delivery



- Legal and practical
aspects of accountability and transparency



- Investigative reporting
techniques



- Special questioning
techniques



- Indicators, perception
and surveys



- Safety and security for
investigative reporters in Iraq



- Advanced writing
technique



- Conducting complex
interviews



- Advanced information
gathering & analyses



- Evidence, proof and
defamation



- Right of information



- Document management
& analysis



- Setting up research
strategy & plan



 



Editorial Mentoring: After successful completion
of the formal in-class course, trainees began to work on actual story
production with experienced IWPR international editorial trainers -- an
apprenticeship process IWPR classifies as on-the-job training. In this
extremely labor-intensive process the international trainer meets with the trainees
in a group story idea session. Two-hour, one-on-one meetings are then held with
each of the trainees to develop the stories. This is followed by up to 10 hours
of editing time per trainer with each journalist for every story. At the end,
each journalist has put into practice the theory from the basic training and
has produced a portfolio of stories to offer to editors. During this quarter
the trainees produced twenty stories via this process.



 



Research & Reporting



Research:
 Overlapping with the editorial mentoring and
after successful completion of a number of reports, the editorial team assigned
investigative research projects to the participants. These projects include
investigations on local service delivery in the following areas;



 



- Local security provision



- Conditions of education



- Conditions of electricity services



- Healthcare provision



- Labour market and job provision



- Functionality of local governments



- Internally displaced people and challenges of
service provision



 



Reporting: During this quarter, the project participants
produced a substantial number of reports covering a wide range of topics,
including seventeen feature reports, three investigative reports and six
governorate profiles.



 



Investigations: During this quarter IWPR
produced the first two editions of the Iraq governance reports with
contributions from prominent activists, reporters and news bosses. The pilot
edition featured Kanan Makiya, Rend Rahim-Franke, Bakhtyar Amin, Luai Hassan
(Editor-in-Chief of Almutaar) and Twana Osman (Editor-in-Chief of Hawlati)
tackled the wider issue of government accountability and the difficulties
reporters face when reporting on accountability and transparency issue.



 



In March, the first edition of the Iraq governance
report was published. The report tackling lack of security provision and
institutional and political corruption in use of government security resources
included a commentary by Hamid Al-Maliki and an investigative report into the
Zarqa incident conducted by the project participants, supported by a number of
security provision feature stories. (Both reports are available at IWPR’s award
winning website: www.iwpr.net)   



 



City Profiles: Project participants have
also started a perception survey on service delivery that is to be concluded at
the end of the project, the survey is covering service delivery perception
amongst end users in the areas of water and sewage, education, healthcare,
security and policing, electricity and power. In addition the team researched
and produced six city profiles, covering the demography, politics, economy and
security of Baghdad, Basra,
Karbala, Najaf, Erbil and Kirkuk. The profiles were published in the
first edition of the governance report. 



 



Consultation with Experts & Key Players



Tackling such a sensitive topic requires constant
debate, discussion and consultation with key players and experts in this area,
such as civil society leaders, media management and editors, members of Iraqi
parliament, representatives of local governments and representatives of the
Iraqi Integrity Commission as well as international experts. Building upon its
initial consultation process the program team continued a consultation process
involving key stake holders, including the Iraqi Integrity Commission, the
World Bank and various media bosses.  The
consultations provided:



 



- A better understanding
of the methods and strategies currently used by local media;



- Enhanced networking
capacity of the project;



- A better understanding
of the mechanisms used for combating corruption;



- Contributed to developing
and improving research methodology;