Iraq Government and Media
Government Type: Federal Parliamentary Representative Democratic Republic comprising 18 governorates (provinces). Under the Iraqi constitution, the president must be a Kurd, the prime minister a Shia Arab, and the speaker of parliament always a Sunni.
Head of the State: President Barham Salih (The presidency is mostly ceremonial in Iraq)
Leader: Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi (has the executive power)
Political Party: Independent
Political Position: Independent
World Press Freedom Rank: Iraq 162/180
Iraq is ranked 162nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index. Reporters Without Borders reports violence against journalists stating “ Iraqi journalists risk their lives when they cover protests or investigate“ and “Murders of journalists go unpunished because they are not investigated.” In 2019, Following the attack on journalists and media outlets, Unesco condemned the attacks and murder of journalists.
Government Influence on Media: Foreign broadcasters in Iraq such as BBC, Reuters, US-funded TV channel Al-Hurra, and Radio Free Iraq are closely inspected and subject to suspension and sometimes expulsion when their coverage is not approved by the Iraqi government. For example, Reuter’s license was suspended “over a report on the number of coronavirus cases in Iraq.” Later, CMC lifted the suspension. Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq (Kurdistan region) has its own media such as Kurdistan TV which is owned by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
The Media in Iraq is currently dominated by state-funded public media and privately funded media that is either affiliated with political parties or religious sects. Most of the time, media outlet ownership is not transparent. State-funded media is controlled by The Iraqi Media Network (IMN) which is a government holding company that operates public broadcasters such as Al-Iraqiya TV and the Republic of Iraq Radio. Most of Iraqi’s have a satellite dish and satellite TV networks, therefore there are privately owned satellite channels such as AlSumaria TV. The Communications and Media Commission (CMC), is the national regulatory agency that issues licenses and regulates broadcasting and imposes suspensions. In general, the press is not free in Iraq and subject to strong government censorship