Liberated cities: scared journalists and absent field coverage
In its 21st report, Iraqi media house monitors the conditions of journalism and journalists inside cities liberated from ISIS; in Anbar, Saladin, and Diala. The monitor is divided onto 2 parts; the first deals with visual, audio, and printed media coverage, while the second deals with the difficulties and obstacles that journalists face during their work.
A team from Iraqi media house prepared a monitoring report for the archives of TV channels, newspapers, and websites regarding their coverage in those cities documenting and analyzing it, considering variety in monitoring various media views, including those financially supported by the government, private sector, or “political capital”, in addition to those representing sects or ethnical, religious, or national groups.
The monitors from Iraqi media house had problems resulted from the uncaring of media outlets to make archives for their websites and organize it, what forced them to follow news produced regarding monitoring on search engines and social media to get as much as they can from it.
Iraqi media house was interested in exploring views of journalists working inside liberated cities regarding the condition of journalism in it and the obstacles that they face during covering the massive amount of daily events after editing it.
The monitoring concluded the following points:
- The decline of the level of media coverage in liberated cities on various levels; some are on professional level related to the mechanism of coverage and covering events, while some are related to the decrease of the numbers of bureaus and media institutions that were more widely spread before ISIS occupation.
- A massive migration for workers in journalism and media from those cities after being occupied by ISIS. Although of liberating those cities, the number of workers in journalism and media is still limited; since dozens of them preferred to work outside their cities or search for other jobs.
- Fear is still controlling journalists in those cities; most of them avoid making their names and places of work known when they cover events, or they use aliases, while some TV channels did not use their logos during field coverage in those cities after liberating it.
- Media depended in 70% of its coverage in liberated cities on official data issued by the government and security forces in addition to statements on phone, while there was obvious absence of field coverage inside liberated cities.
- Journalists working inside liberated cities celebrated the cooperation of officials and security forces to get information and help in organizing limited field coverages, however they registered that officials only cooperated with media outlets, which support their views or financed by their political parties.
- Some media outlets promoted for having correspondents from liberated cities, publishing reportages and news and claiming that they are made by its correspondents in those cities, while the monitoring found out that those media outlets does not have any field correspondents there.
- Media depended on using reports published by other media outlets without mentioning the original source; for example; I was noticed that an original report was first published in one media outlet, then republished in other various media outlets. It was also noticed that media outlets depend on reposts and reportages published in foreign media.
- Almost total absence of media bureaus in liberated cities comparing it with the situation before ISIS occupation; some of it were closed and workers were fired without any compensation, while other media outlets had to open alternative bureaus in other governorates. The level of distributing newspapers and printed publications decreased in liberated cities comparing it to the situation before 2914.
- Media outlets, which are funded by the government or political capital, get huge privileges during covering events in liberated cities, while other media outlets does not get any help or protection during performing their jobs.
- the government, security forces, and governorates’ councils should do their best to support media in liberated cities by providing safe environments for journalists and enabling them of safely wander in the cities, in addition to provide information as fast as they can to prevent and suppress gossips related to the conditions in those cities.
- All visual, audio, and printed media outlets should make more efforts to depend on field coverage that covers the humanitarian side in liberated cities in order to get a closer and clearer view of its problems, instead of depending only on officials’ statements.
- The best way to prevent any future problems and deal with current ones is to create a safe environment for journalism, which is capable of delivering daily details from liberated cities without any boundaries and working on reopening bureaus of media institutions and protect it.
- Providing safe environment for journalism would help revealing the problems of liberated cities; since media works as an objective observer of those cities and the life of its citizens. It also contributes to the curtailment of administrative and financial corruption as well as execute the rebuilding process of infrastructure demolished during the military actions.
- Organizations concerned with journalism and freedom of speech should shed light on the condition of journalists in liberated cities and do not make them feel that they work without protection that helps them work better.