Iraq profile

Street cafe with man reading newspaper Many media outlets are controlled by groups with a political or religious agenda

Iraqis can choose from among hundreds of publications and scores of radio and TV stations.

Several large players dominate the market and niche broadcasters cater for diverse views. Many outlets are controlled by political or religious movements.

Freedom of expression is protected by the constitution. Reporters Without Borders says threats to the media come "above all from the authorities or political figures that block them from gaining access to certain areas".

Iraqis get much of their news from TV. Radio listening has declined in tandem with the rise of TV. For private media, advertising revenues seldom produce a reliable income.

The Iraqi Media Network (IMN) is a government holding company for outlets including Al-Iraqiya TV and Republic of Iraq Radio.

Foreign broadcasts

Foreign broadcasters targeting Iraq include the BBC, Paris-based Monte Carlo Doualiya radio, and US-backed Al-Hurra TV, Radio Sawa and Radio Free Iraq. Many of them are available via local relays. The BBC is relayed in Baghdad and Basra.

Up to 97% of homes have a satellite dish and there are more than 30 Iraq-facing satellite networks.

In the northern autonomous Kurdish enclaves, rival political factions operate their own media.

Iraq's internet penetration is the lowest in the region, according to OpenNet Initiative. There were 2.5 million users by December 2012 - around 8% of the population ( There is no official national filtering policy.

While few Iraqis have internet access at home, and electricity blackouts are routine, more than 80% have a mobile phone.

The press

  • Al-Sabah - sponsored by state-run Iraqi Media Network
  • Al-Zaman - private London-based daily, printed in Baghdad and Basra; English-language pages
  • Al-Mada - Baghdad, private daily
  • Al-Mashriq - Baghdad, private daily
  • Al-Dustur - Baghdad, private daily
  • Al-Manarah - Basra, private daily


  • Al-Iraqiya - state-run
  • Al-Sharqiya - private, based in Dubai, satellite and terrestrial
  • Al-Sumaria - private, based in Beirut, satellite and terrestrial
  • Kurdistan TV - operated by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) from autonomous northern enclave
  • KurdSat - operated by Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) from autonomous northern enclave


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