This week Iraqi Kurdistan will see a bulge in its level of new media savviness as the first ever conference for Iraqi bloggers is held in Sulimanyah
Organised by the IMS-supported Iraqi Network for Social Media, the conference brings together bloggers from around Iraq to enhance their networks and provide a platform for the exchange of skills and tools.
Spanning two days, the conference will support bloggers by developing their skills in the field of legal protection and to avoid prosecution. Training workshops on writing, technical matters and networking are also part of the package for those attending.
Like many other countries in the Arab world, new online media plays an important mobilising role in Iraq. Not
unlike its neighboring countries, Iraq has since early 2011 witnessed demonstrations calling for reforms to fight corruption and improve social services.
In Baghdad, a group of bloggers has been the front figure in organising and covering some of these demonstrations.
One of the bloggers, Haydar Hamzoz said early last year at the launch of the Iraqi Network of Social Media:
- We want to educate young people in the importance of demonstrating in a peaceful way and use media as an art of self-expression.
Iraq is estimated to have over 700,000 Facebook users, indicating that roughly a third of the country's internet
users use social networking platforms.
IMS has been actively supporting Iraqi media since 2005, focusing on capacity building and business development.
With the conference and the Iraqi Network for Social Media, the online and new media also becomes part of IMS' work to support the country's media.
More news and updates from the conference in Sulimanyah will follow in the coming days.