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Read all about it : the free press, the public sphere and democracy in Iraq

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2006, 00:00 authored by Benjamin IsakhanBenjamin Isakhan
Despite a wealth of recent research which has detailed the impact that new media outlets and technologies have had on the Middle East’s nascent public sphere and its role in promoting democracy, there has been little investigation into the re-emergence of the free press in Iraq following the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the corresponding end to his tight control over the nation’s media sector. This paper begins by reviewing Iraq’s long relationship with the written word and its corresponding public sphere. It traces the introduction of the printing press to Iraq by the Ottomans and details those periods when the Iraqi press was truly free, fostering the emergence of a civil society and democratic reforms (such as under the Young Turks, the early Hashemite era and following the Second World War). It also examines those periods when the Iraqi media was most restricted and did little else than praise the regime at hand (such as under Ottoman rule and most recently under the Ba†th regime, especially under Saddam Hussein). Following on, this article reviews the developments since the fall of Saddam Hussein and, despite the extensive interference in Iraq’s media sector from governmental entities both outside and inside Iraq, it concludes by arguing that these papers have been central to the re-emergence of an Iraqi public sphere which has openly debated and discussed the issues pertinent to post-Saddam Iraq.

History

Journal

Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies

Volume

8

Issue

1-2

Pagination

119 - 153

Publisher

The Institute

Location

Amman, Jordan

ISSN

1466-2361

Language

eng

Notes

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Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2006, The Institute, Amman Jordan

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