It is almost a year since the last US troops pulled out of
Certainly there have been changes. Under
Post-war reconstruction created a new mould for the Iraqi media. Two speedily drafted orders by the
With satellite dishes flooding in, everyone soon had easy access to countless new Iraqi TV and radio channels, as well as pan-Arab satellite channels and the internet.
Yet a decade on,
It continues to mirror the fractures in Iraqi society, forming a patchwork of politicized TV channels, radio stations, newspapers and websites that largely support a partisan, ethnic or sectarian stance.
Channels come and go depending on financial backing, while the sources of such patronage remain murky. Rumour often points to
Media freedom is as much about the maturity of politicians, journalists and audiences as it is about institutionbuilding and legislative frameworks. As the removal of overt state control was imposed rather than organic, tensions continue in the new system: all post-war Iraqi prime ministers have continued to view the Iraqi Media Network as an organ of state rather than a public service broadcaster. As such it is expected to show the government in a positive light.
State interference is increasingly apparent. In the past year, the
A number of draft laws before parliament threaten to make things worse. One proposes life imprisonment and a fine of 25 million to 50 million Iraqi Dinars (£13,000 to £26,000) for those who destabilise the country by questioning its unity and independence online. A
The two orders issued by the
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