A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, consistent promotion of propaganda/conspiracies, poor or no sourcing to credible information, a complete lack of transparency and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for the purpose of profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact checked on a per article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake news unless specifically written in the reasoning section for that source. See all Questionable sources.
- Overall, we rate Shafaq Questionable due to a complete lack of transparency as well as poor sourcing of information. Note: Due to security issues a lack of transparency of ownership is common among Iraqi news sources.
Reasoning: Lack of Transparency, Poor Sourcing, Propaganda
World Press Freedom Rank: Iraq 162/180
Founded in 2004, Shafaq is a Baghdad based news site that focuses on covering local developments across Iraq and its Kurdistan Region. Content is available in three languages (Arabic, Kurdish, English), and among the other topics covered are politics, economy, social issues, world news, and reports.
Shafaq is a pro-Kurdish news website. Shafaq does not provide information regarding its ownership and does not list an about page.
Funded by / Ownership
The website completely lacks transparency as there is neither an about page nor ownership disclosed. Further, the website does not disclose a business or funding model, therefore we cannot determine how they generate revenue.
Analysis / Bias
Iraq is ranked 162nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index. The report states that in 2020 it is “even more dangerous for journalists” in Iraq. The president of the federal government of Iraq is Barham Salih, who is chosen by parliamentary vote.
The Kurdistan Region is an autonomous region in Northern Iraq. This region is divided into four governorates: these are Duhok, Erbil, Sulaymaniya, and Halabja. Erbil is the Capital city. The Kurdistan Region has a presidential system with the current President being Nechirvan Barzani. The KDP is one of the main Kurdish parties in Iraq and is described as a tribal (Note tribes are KDP-Barzanis and the PUK-Talabanis) that are considered the leftist nationalist big tent party.
In review, Shafaq News utilizes headlines with strong emotionally loaded language and a pro-President N. Barzani tone. For example, in this article “Nechirvan Barzani’s diplomatic steps “ Art of Possible”, the president is pictured as a deal maker and perfect “As usual, President of Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani openly searches for common areas to enhance understandings between opponents and open doors of dialogue and common solutions.” The article is sourced through quotes from an interview with the President’s adviser. Shafaq News utilizes credible news sources such as the Washington Post, Unicef, and Government sources such as in this article “Will Al-Kadhimi be able to end the Iraqi headache?”. However, they rarely use hyperlinks when sourcing outside information. In general, Shafaq promotes propaganda and is highly censored by the government.
Failed Fact Checks
- None found
Overall, we rate Shafaq Questionable due to a complete lack of transparency as well as poor sourcing of information. Note: Due to security issues a lack of transparency of ownership is common among Iraqi news sources. (M. Huitsing 5/16/2020)