Sources of revenue for newspapers and magazines in Iraqi Kurdistan are hard to find anyway. On April 21, Iraqi Kurdistan's journalists and media celebrated the 117th anniversary of the first publication printed in Kurdish – this was in Cairo. Since then, Kurdish language publications have multiplied massively. Still, in Iraqi Kurdistan today, much of the local media – even the larger and more professional organisations – can be considered partisan, as they're often funded by political parties or actors with political affiliations. It's even more difficult for independent media.
Since political tensions between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan began, during the last administration headed by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the semi-autonomous region, with its own military, parliament and judiciary, has not received it's disputed share of the federal budget.
The new Iraqi government, headed by Haider al-Abadi seems to be creeping toward a negotiated compromise with the Iraqi Kurdish government in Erbil, but the lack of cash has seen a slowdown in what was supposedly on its way to becoming Iraq’s “new Dubai”. Now neither the government nor the private sector have many commercial activities or developments they want to, or can afford to, advertise.
The Committee on Culture and Media in the Iraqi Kurdish Parliament is well aware of the impact the financial crisis is having on local media, says Zana Abdul-Rahman, a member of the Committee. “That is why we have held meetings with many of the editors-in-chief of the most prominent newspapers here,” Abdul-Rahman says. “It's true there is a financial crisis but one shouldn't sacrifice everything because of this crisis. Newspapers and freedom of opinion is as important as bread – so we should support publications until they can overcome this challenge,” he suggests.