IMS - Female journalists & bloggers fight for press freedom in Iraq

In a media environment heavily dominated by men, two female journalists continue their work for a sustainable free press in Iraq.
Newly appointed project coordinators for IMS' Iraq programme, Koral Noori and Kholoud Alamiry are testaments to the courage and will power it takes to work as an independent female journalist in Iraq. Having worked as journalists for several years, they are now set to continue the work of IMS in Iraq to develop an independent and sustainable media sector.
"Before she could shoot the photo, she was shot herself"
Working from Sulaymanya, the main city in Kurdistan, Koral Noori was one of only a handful female journalists when she first started out.
Rana Midhat, blogger and researcher, gives a presentation
about blogging at the coordination meeting in Sulaymanya.
Photo: Brigitte Sins/IMS
"As a female journalist it was not easy. Some made fun of us, ignored us and we were not invited to press conferences."

Illustrating the kind of courage it takes to work as a journalist in Iraq, Noori tells of a female photographer who was shot in the finger when trying to take a photo of a sniper during demonstrations earlier this year.
"Before she could shoot the photo, she was shot herself," she says.

In Baghdad, Kholoud Alamiry's equipment is frequently confiscated, and as a female reporter she is often met with a lack of respect. 

"Working as a journalist is considered to be a male job, but I choose to be a journalist above anything else. We need to tell the world about our problems."

Coordinating next steps in Iraq's media development
The programme which Noori and Alamirty will be implementing focuses on the business side of media development to secure the long-term development and sustainability of the Iraqi media sector.

To coordinate the work, IMS and a collection of other international organisations met in Sulaymanya in September to share experiences and knowledge on everything from social media and blogging to monitoring of how the media covers certain topics.

"Media monitoring tells us how the media reports on gender for instance which we will use as a training tool for journalists. Together with business development this leads to a better functioning media environment," explains Koral Noori.

* IMS International Media Support arranged the meeting of iraqi bloggers that resulted in the initiation of the "Network of Iraqi Social Media Activists". (NISMA)


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