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Special Newspaper for Kurdish Ballot

  • Metro magazine cover, 03-Aug-09.
    Metro magazine cover, 03-Aug-09.

The July 25 elections in Iraqi Kurdistan were also comprehensively covered in a groundbreaking IWPR project.

A large team of journalists worked together to produce a daily newspaper published in two Kurdish dialects over a 20-day period around the elections. Metro, a 16-page tabloid, was the product of hard work by 80 journalists and over 25 photojournalists, drawn from more than 16 independent and party media outlets in the region.

“Metro sought to prove that Kurdish media can work shoulder to shoulder with the global press, achieving the same high standard and avoiding political affiliation,” said Hiwa Osman, Metro’s editor-in-chief. “By leaving no space for journalists’ personal opinions, the paper tried to provide a trustworthy source of news for officials and voters.”

Wrya Hama-Tahir, a journalist who worked on Metro as a feature editor, said the paper stood out from the rest of the region’s press.

“Metro is new in Kurdish journalism, especially in terms of its form. There is nothing like it among the other newspapers,” he said.

In the Arab part of Iraq, another IWPR-produced paper and radio programme, also called Metro, had a more personal impact. A report, Basra Plagued by Mine Menace, told the story of victims from Shatt al-Arab, a village along the Iran-Iraq border in Basra province where some 400 people out of the population of 2,500 had been injured by mines. The report focused on Sadiya Khalaf Lafta, an amputee who said she had never married because she lost her leg to a mine 15 years ago.

IWPR reporters in Basra and Baghdad investigated and their story was published as an Iraqi Crisis Report in English, Arabic and Kurdish and picked up by Radio Nawa, a popular national news station. Deeply moved after hearing the story, Hawar Mustafa, the general director of Sulaimaniyah’s emergency hospital in northern Iraq, offered to start treating the victims of Shatt al-Arab. Kamal Jacob, the manager of the Centre for Artificial Limbs in Basra, also said the report prompted his clinic to look into providing home visits for victims or find ways of bringing them to the centre.                        

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