Two new syndication deals with Iraqi news agencies have boosted the impact of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) Iraq’s work across the country.
Growing republication of IWPR’s acclaimed Iraqi Crisis Reports, ICRs, which editors and readers say provide impartial stories in a media landscape tainted by bias, are further evidence of the credibility of its editorial output.
IWPR’s local media partners singled out the ICRs for providing unique and balanced stories that accurately reflect the situation in Iraq and the country’s diverse communities.
Jaleel Ibrahim, the manager of Baghdad-based al-Marsad news website (http://www.almarsadnews.org/), which began syndicating ICRs in June, said readers look to IWPR’s reports “to find out the truth, which the Iraqi news sometimes fails to honestly reflect”.
He said Iraqi journalists “side with their ethnic group or sect, but IWPR’s reports are neutral and professional … Sunnis, Shias, Kurds, Arabs , Muslims, Christians and other ethnic or religious groups are frequently quoted ... Our society needs such reporting”.
Basim al-Shammeri, who manages Wasit news agency in eastern Iraq, also began syndicating the ICRs in June.
“Many journalists and intellectuals inside and outside of Wasit province read these stories because they primarily tackle Iraq’s political, security and social topics which are relevant to every Iraqi individual in this critical period of the country’s history,” he said.
“The diversity of topics draws the readers’ attention, meaning IWPR reports don’t focus on one issue but instead deal with many subjects, which is something unique.”
IWPR Iraq chief of party Ammar al-Shahbander said the syndication deals were a sign of growing appreciation of international standards of journalism within the country.
“The quality of IWPR’s reports is deemed to draw the interest of readers, improve circulation figures and raise the standing of these news agencies within the local media market,” he said.
“The interest in articles written by IWPR-trained journalists shows that the international standard of reporting is making an impact here.”
IWPR’s stories have also been published on news websites and in newspapers in Nasiriyah, Basra, Sulaimaniyah, Erbil and Baghdad, where they have been praised by readers and writers alike.
Diana Sameer al-Obaidi, a 25-year-old freelance journalist, said she reads the ICRs through the Baghdad-based Eye Iraq and Wasit news agency websites.
“What I like most about these reports is that they are credible and transparent and do not distort the truth about Iraq. They clearly convey the ideas to readers… these reports are done by trained [Iraqi] journalists, which is really amazing,” she said.
Like Ibrahim, Obaidi believes that IWPR’s neutral reporting is critical for Iraqi readers.
“IWPR stories broaden the minds of Iraqis so that they understand what is happening in the entire country - unlike party, sectarian, ethnic, religious or other biased media outlets that work for their own interests,” she said.
Emad Faraj, a 53-year-old electrical engineer from Kut, the capital of Wasit province, said he follows political and security stories, “This is my primary concern, just as it is for every other Iraqi.”
IWPR’s reports “help citizens to understand what is going on in Iraq, especially in the political arena”, Faraj said. “I like the accuracy in dealing with issues, and the lack of bias in tackling delicate subjects.”
(Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting)