Deakin University
isakhan-readallabout-2006.pdf (436.43 kB)
Download file

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

Download (436.43 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2006-01-01, 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.



Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies






119 - 153


The Institute


Amman, Jordan






Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in Deakin Research Online. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2006, The Institute, Amman Jordan

Usage metrics

    Research Publications