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 Response to Mariwan Salihi's article “Iraqi Kurdistan: Land of 1 Million Journalist” ‎

 Analysis — Opinion 
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Response to Mariwan Salihi's article “Iraqi Kurdistan: Land of 1 Million Journalist” ‎ 3.6.2010 
By Rebin Salar, ekurd.net

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June 3, 2010

A reply to Mariwan Salihi article “Iraqi Kurdistan: Land of 1 Million Journalist

In your writing that was posted on eKurd.net, I noticed that your bad command of the English language is not helping you to get your view across. I understood (correct me if I am wrong) that you were happy about the fact that people in Kurdistan are becoming opinionated and like to express their views freely either online or in the newspapers.

You stated that “Kurdish media is currently very chaotic and needs dire attention to keep it well-organized”.

A free and democratic media does not need to be organised by the government. According to Herman, a democratic media “can be identified by its structure and functions. In terms of structure, it would be organized and controlled by ordinary citizens or their grass roots organisations”. This means that the popular newspapers in Kurdistan, such as Awene and Hawlati, are the fundamental steps towards building democratic media.

Contrary to this, media empires such as Zagros Tv and Rudaw and Aras Press, which are set up by the Kurdistan Democratic Party and on the budget of the Kurdistan Regional Government, will create the tense situation that we have now in Kurdistan. My favorite newspaper seller where I buy my daily newspapers in Sulaimaniyah always tells me that he struggles to sell the government backed-newspapers such as Rudaw. The Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK were distributing all their newspapers for free during the recent election campaigns.

You do not realise you are part of the “shocking fact” that you mention regarding people posting online. This phenomenon is called blogging and it is perfectly acceptable. In today’s hi-tech world, any person, including you, can express their opinions online. There is no need to regulate the blogosphere world. Only undemocratic systems regulate peoples’ online activity i.e. North Korea and Iran, and other undemocratic parts of the world.

It is to my deep regret, that Kurdistan is joining North Korea and Iran when it comes to freedom of press. On a visit to Erbil recently, I realised that the websites of KurdistanPost.com and LvinPress.com, the former being a discussion forum and the latter a professional magazine, are both blocked in Erbil and Duhok, and the rest of KDP-controlled Kurdistan. On the other hand, I could access websites that contained information about how to make a Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

The worrying trend here is that some people give themselves the right to be called journalists, and the very same people, deny others to have the same title.

After all, the name journalist has come from the word “journal” or “diary”. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a journalist is a person who keeps a journal, diary, or other record of daily events.

References:
Herman, Edward (1997) Triumph of the Market: Essays on Economics, Politics and the Media. Montreal, Black Rose Books. p.215
Ask Oxford Dictionary - journalist

Rebin Salar, Independent journalist from Kurdistan/Iraq.

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