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Iraq: Mass Media
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Government and Politics > Mass Media


After the end of full state control in 2003, a period of considerable growth occurred in Iraq’s broadcast media. In 2005 about 80 radio stations and 25 television stations were broadcasting in Arabic, Kurdish, Turkmen, and Assyrian. The most popular television stations were the independent al Sharqiya and state-owned al Iraqiya. Arabic-language satellite broadcasts from neighboring countries were increasingly popular. The broadcast media, most of which were owned by political factions, presented both positive and negative positions on participation in the national elections of 2005. As of 2006, conditions did not make the operation of commercial media outlets profitable. Since the end of media oppression in 2003, newspapers in Iraq have presented a wide variety of views on critical issues. Nevertheless, in 2005 the Iraqi Association of Journalists reported some incidents of censorship by U.S. occupation forces, which also were accused of manipulating reports in nominally independent newspapers. The daily papers with the largest circulation, all published in Baghdad, are al Mada, al Mutamar, al Sabah, and al Zaman (also published in London). Al Mutamar is the official organ of the Iraqi National Congress, and al Sabah often reflects the positions of the government. An offshoot of al Sabah, called al Sabah al Jadeed, has taken a more independent position. Al Mada is a wellrespected independent daily. The Iraqi News Agency is the main domestic news agency; major foreign news agencies with offices in Iraq are the Anadolu Ajansı of Turkey, the Associated Press of the United States, the Deutsche Presse-Agentur of Germany, the Informatsionnoye Telegrafnoye Agenstvo Rossii–Telegrafnoye Agenstvo Suverennykh Stran (ITAR—TASS) of the Russian Federation, Reuters of Britain, and Tsinhua of the People’s Republic of China.

Data as of August 2006

Last Updated: August 2006

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Iraq was first published in 1988. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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