On the Baghdad newsstand

On the Baghdad newsstand
: Radio Free Europe reports that reporting is coming back to Iraq:

…news services are beginning to come back to fill the information vacuum. More and more Iraqis say they are tuning into Iran-based Al-Alam (“The World”) TV, Qatar’s Al-Jazeera, or the U.S.-based Radio Sawa, which is transmitted by coalition forces from the Baghdad airport.

Baghdad has more than a half-dozen newspapers published by a range of political, ethnic and religious groups. Capital residents can choose between “Future,” published by the Iraqi National Accord; “Conference,” put out by the Iraqi National Congress; the Iraqi communists’ “Road to the People”; and the London-based “Al-Zaman” (“Times”). Some of the papers are distributed for free; others sell for between 250-750 dinars (approximately $0.07-$0.20).

The number of newspapers and other sources of news are increasing on a daily basis. But many Iraqis say they often leave a lot to be desired, in terms of content and quality. In particular, residents say they need better, more objective information about the unfolding developments in postwar Iraq. Some say they feel they are at the center of an ideological battle between the polarized pro-American and anti-American worlds.

I’m still hot on the idea of weblogs as part of this mix (and I’m writing an op-ed piece about that now).

  • Hip-hip hooray for web logs.

  • button

    Great find, Jeff! I linked to it and you.

  • Day 23 Of Death Fast In Austin, Texas

  • How best to let the blogdom flourish in Iraq: encourage the best in telephony to restore access to the Internet! How best to accomplish that goal: suspect others more technically and politically oriented than MB would know better, but something better be done quickly for the Iraqis to have this access before the extremists have any more time to enslave them.

  • How the hell can weblogs be relevant in a country with PC penetration of sub 10% and internet penetration lower than that?
    You can stick your weblogs up your arse

  • Hey, you’re right, “Sultan”! We should just give up on the whole idea and pass out wet clay tablets instead. After all, there is no such thing as improvement of a situation, is there?

  • “Sultan” WANTS them to stay in the Dark Ages; it’s quite obvious from how he speaks. He must be part of the theocracy crowd.
    That “actual penetration” of the PC/internet factor was prior to our arrival. It WILL be made more prevalent as part of the on-going restoration/improvement of the civil structure of Iraq. “Sultan” can stay in the 14th century with his other creepy compadres.

  • Soren Ryherd

    Blogs can have a huge effect even with a very small degree of adoption. Remember, blogging is a 2-way street. Just look at how eye-opening Salam Pax’ blog was to those trying to get a sense of how the US was being perceived in Baghdad in the months leading up to the war. And that was *just one guy*.
    Even a small number of blogs will help to uncover news for mainstream media, will help to give perspective on Iraqi’s beliefs and perceptions, and will provide an internal barometer against which to judge Iraqi policy.
    Even the small number of Iranian blogs has completely changed my view of the internal political situation there, which will affect the policies I support, etc. (btw, thanks Jeff!)