Iraq – Media History – Script (en)

Since its inception‪, the Iraqi media went through many stages that changed the concept of modernism and development‪, and the way Iraqi reality is covered‪.

One can consider June 15th‪, 1869 the birth of the Iraqi press, under the Ottoman rule in Iraq, which culminated in issuing the first edition of "Zora" newspaper as the first Iraqi newspaper published in eight pages in Arabic and Turkish.

Following Zora‪, another newspaper ‪“Almousel‪”, started to publish in 1885‪. After 15 years, ‪“Albasra‪” was published in Arabic and Turkish‪. It lasted until the start of the British Mandate in Iraq. These three papers ‪“Zora‪”, Almousel‪” and ‪“Albasra‪” were published on weekly basis‪.

The first political newspaper ‪“Baghdad‪” was founded by Murad Suleiman in 1908, and was published three times a week in both Arabic and Turkish‪. It was a prominent pan‪-Arab newspaper and considered one of the most powerful Iraqi newspapers at that time.

In 1936, the first Iraqi radio started to broadcast, and in 1956 the first TV. The Iraqi News Agency began to work in 1959. The color TV entered Iraq in 1976.

In the beginning, the media impact and spread was limited to the cities rather than the countryside, and this was due to the limitation in broadcast coverage, and the higher interest among the cities’ residents compared to the countryside. This is related to the traditional differences and the limitation of accessibility and distribution in the countryside.

Thus, the elements of what composes today the Iraqi media were completed at the fifth decade of the previous century, which consist of the three main components: the visual, audio and print.

Two weeks after the USA and its allies occupied Baghdad (April 9th, 2003), the Iraqi Ministry of Information was dissolved by Paul Brimer. This has shifted the Iraqi media landscape from state monopoly and domination with multiple newspapers, three broadcast channels and one satellite, into a liberated media without any restrains, nor on quality neither on quantity. The media faced a new era with no regional experience to look at.

The beginning of this phase has witnessed the emergence of a huge number of newspapers and publications. This was one of the new Iraqi media landscape features due to the ease in production and distribution, to the extent that the number of publication has reached 180-200, daily and weekly, with different political, ideological, sectarian and nationalist trends. Many of these publications have later expanded into radio and TV stations, operating either locally, or across the different governorates of the country.