The oil sector dominates the Iraqi economy, as it provides nearly 95% of its income. Iraq was a founding member of OPEC and began the oil industry in 1925. It is considered a rich country, where its oil reserves come second after Saudi Arabia’s reserves, and it is estimated to be 150 billion barrels. The major part of the oil reserves is concentrated in the southern regions and it amounts to 71% of the total reserves, while the reserves in the the center and north of the country are estimated to be 12%.
Interview with Dr. Kazem Almeqdadi
Iraqi media is financed by many sources. The main source is the religious parties, which are financed by regional countries, in particular Iran. It funds some of the Iraqi satellite channels that represent the so-called political Islam, and those approach only one sect.
There is also the financing by Iraqi businessmen, who own banks, or have wealth. These businessmen own many of the satellite channels and usually direct their messages to the politicians aiming to blackmail them, so they can get contracts for mega projects, or a political position.
Even though the Iraqi economy depends on oil, this economy did not contribute to the finance of the Iraqi media, i.e. the national economy. Unfortunately, the only case is the case of the Al-Iraqiya and the Iraqi Media Network, that receive funding from the state. The rest of the media, receive suspicious funding, meaning that they do not serve the national Iraqi interest.
There is no red line imposed on the ownership of media in Iraq, however, in reality it is the capital who controls the media. The capital has become powerful after 2003, especially the political, partisan and religious capital. Those who have this power, are the ones who establish media outlets.
Worth noting, most media outlets that emerged after 2003, were means to promote factional, partisan, political and religious interests, which made its coverage unprofessional. However, many known journalists established their own media outlets and were appreciated and distinguished by Iraqis for their professionalism. This was not the case with media outlets that were established by people who have no relation to the profession of journalism and all what they have is their money and power.
Saa’d Albazzaz, head of the Independent Media Group.
He was born in Nineveh governorate in 1952. He is an Iraqi journalist and a business man, who left to London in 1992, after a dispute with the old Iraqi regime, in which he held many media positions, including the vice head of the journalists’ syndicate, who was at the time Uday Saddam Hussein. He established “Azzaman” newspaper in London, which was an opponent to the regime, and established the satellite channel “Al Sharqiya” in 2004, which developed into various TV channels.
Fakhri Karim, head of Almada Institute for Culture and Arts
He is an Iraqi Kurd, born in 1942. He established a publishing house called “Ibn Elshaa’b” in 1959. In 1970, he was elected as the head of the journalists’ syndicate. In 1983, he established “Almada Institute for Culture and Arts” in Damascus, as a pan Arab cultural institute. His media institution owns today a radio station, TV channel and a widely spread daily newspaper and they are all called “Almada”.
A’wn Hussain Alkhashluk, head of Al Baghdadia
He is an Iraqi business man born in 1961 in the city of Qalat Sukkar in Dhi Qar governorate. He left Iraq in 1979 and received his PhD in civil engineering. He founded “Alkhashluk” Investment Group, which operates in Europe, USA, Britain, Africa, UAE and Turkey. He owns Al Baghdadia channel, which is considered one of the most important Iraqi channels.
Nuri al-Maliki, an Iraqi politician, holds a bachelor's degree from the Faculty of Theology in Baghdad and a master's degree in Arabic from the University of Salahaddin in Erbil. After the decision of the former regime to ban the Da’wa Party, he fled to Syria. After the occupation of Iraq, he became the prime minister in 2006, and he supervises “Afaq” channel.
Ammar Abdul Aziz Mohsen Hakim, an Iraqi politician and cleric, born in 1971. He is the grandson of the religious figure, Mohsen al-Hakim, the Shiite cleric. He left Iraq in 1979 with his father and studied at a secondary school in the Iranian capital of Tehran. Then completed his university studies in the city of Qom, where he earned a law degree. He supervises “Al Forat”, a prominent Iraqi satellite channel.
Ali Asem Aljanabi, head of “Al Rasheed institute for media services”
He was born in Baghdad in 1964. Holds a master’s degree in economy. He is the brother of Saa’d Asem Aljanabi, a well-known politician who heads the Iraqi Republican Assembly, and also runs many companies, in addition to being the original founder of Al Rashid.
Al Rashid institute operates Al Rashid TV channel, which was established in January 6th, 2009, and Al Rashid radio stations in Baghdad, Basra, Nineveh and Kirkuk.