Basim al-Shara | Institute for War and Peace Reporting


Basim al-Shara

Basim al-Shara
IWPR-trained reporter

I was born in Baghdad on July 7, 1980 and was raised in al-Hurria, in north-west Baghdad, where I spent the most beautiful days of my childhood in a simple Iraqi family. My father is a retired English teacher from Amara and my mother is a housewife from Najaf.

I have always been interested in news and books in different fields, especially politics. I inherited this from my father, who focused all his concerns after his retirement on attending literary meetings in Baghdad, as well as reading books about different Iraqi subjects.

I was a regular reader of the Iraqi and Arabic magazines and newspapers in the 90s, both during the Saddam regime and after. I used to spend all my money on buying newspapers, and some people used to call me “Iraqi News Agency” because of my constant talking about Iraqi news from different Arabic stations, as well as from government TV.

Although I studied Management and Economy at Baghdad University in 2001, I never lost my passion for following the latest Iraqi and international political news, and secretly getting books about Iraqi political affairs.

Following the toppling of Saddam’s regime on April 9, 2003, my brother Hazim took two courses with IWPR Iraq in Baghdad.

I watched him writing some of his articles, and I saw the materials that were given to him about the international media. All this aroused my curiosity and desire to enter that world.

So in 2004 I applied for a place on an IWPR training course in Sulaimaniyah, which was the first held outside Baghdad. I went on to participate in many IWPR training courses, and they had a huge influence on my journalism.

My early journalistic work was as an IWPR reporter in Karbala province, covering the parliamentary election in January 2005. Later I worked with many media organisations, including Dijla and Nawa radio stations, but I continued to report for IWPR in the very hard times we had in Baghdad between 2006 and 2007.

There are two stories among those I wrote for IWPR, during the sectarian violence in Iraq, which I consider very important to my journalism. The first was about the murder of gays in the latter half of 2006, Baghdad Gays Fear for Their Lives. And the second one was about meetings between friends from different sects in Zawra Park, Baghdad Park Bridges Sectarian Divide.

I currently work as an assistant trainer for IWPR Iraq’s chief trainer, Nabil Khoury, who teaches reporting courses. My main job is to collect reports from trainees and provide feedback to develop their reporting skills. My current job means a lot to me. It gave me the opportunity to work with novice journalists, which is a new experience for me.

Being a journalist means I’m a person capable of changing things in my country in a positive way, towards building a democratic Iraq similar to the civilized countries outside the Middle East.

Stories by the author

Aftermath of a car bomb in the Kadhimiya district of northern Baghdad that left six people dead. (Photo: IWPR)
Basim al-Shara, Abeer Mohammed
23 Feb 12
Serious questions raised about security forces’ effectiveness in wake of American troop withdrawal.
Shia Iraqis took to the streets last month to call for regime change in Bahrain, where the government has been accused of human rights abuses in its crackdown on the opposition. Iraqi support for Bahrain's Shia majority has drawn controversy domestically and angered the Gulf states, which have called for the upcoming Iraq-hosted Arab summit to be cancelled. (Photo: IWPR)
Basim al-Shara
15 Apr 11
Iraq’s Sunni politicians and Gulf states express disquiet at the criticism of the Bahrain authorities’ crackdown.
Basim al-Shara
10 Sep 10
Radical cleric’s party says it offers way out of political deadlock.
Saleem al-Hasani, Basim al-Shara
4 Jun 10
UN report found that 100,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since 2005 due to water shortages.
Basim al-Shara
7 Sep 09
Mood of fear as city asks how deadly attacks could happen.
Basim al-Shara, Abduladhim Karim, Samar Saleh
25 Jun 09
Many praise Tehran protesters but hope Iran keeps out of their country’s domestic affairs.
Basim al-Shara, Abeer Mohammed, Daud Salman
2 Jun 09
Some suggest Sunni and Shia insurgents and Ba’athists could take advantage of pullout to cause mayhem.
Basim al-Shara, Hadeel Kamil
12 May 09
Journalists warn proposed media legislation does little to help them hold authorities to account.
Basim al-Shara
11 May 09
Many see going out as a simple act of defiance against the extremists.
Zaineb Naji, Abeer Mohammed, Basim al-Shara
19 Apr 09
Most dismiss concerns case would affect press freedom – but are divided over whether jail sentence was fair.