The Perception of Media Professionals About Freedom of Information Access and the Coverage of Political Issues in Iraqi Kurdistan

Ahmed Omar Bali


The media in Iraqi Kurdistan have a different agenda when covering the political issues and therefore they use different frames in their coverage as the ownership of the Kurdish media is divided among the ruling parties, opposition and independent media. This research examines the level of freedom to access information about the public sector and the restrictions on journalists in obtaining information, particularly relating to the identified political issues, which will allow examination of government transparency. Alongside this, the research seeks to understand the use of values and frames in the news coverage according to the views of media professionals in five media organisations. In-depth interviews were used to collect data from media professionals particularly the Chief News Editor and Managing News Editors of the television channels and websites. The research found that is the lack of freedom to obtain information in the public sector and present the news or report it without reference to its source, all of which need to be considered by news-makers. This problem aggravates the lack of transparency on the part of the government to allow freedom to publish and broadcast. This research suggests two major points as a solution and challenges to the media in Kurdistan through two legal regulations. The first would be the establishing of a public service media in order to strike a balance between the opposition and ruling parties and to offer coverage of the political issues without the influence of political parties on their output. The second regulation would be difficult to achieve quickly because it is related to the level of corruption in the government and ruling parties that have monopolised the biggest companies in order to provide funds to the independent media for advertising.


Perception , Media Professionals , Information Access, Political Issues , Iraqi Kurdistan

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