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Thursday, 21 November, 2002, 15:02 GMT
Guide to the Iraqi media
An Iraqi man reads al-Thawrah
Iraqi newspapers are all pro-regime
The Baghdad Government exercises total control over the domestic media, except in the Kurdish region in the north.

Based on available information, BBC Monitoring has compiled the following guide to the broadcast and print media available in Iraq.

Domestic radio and TV

Republic of Iraq Radio - domestic service broadcasting in Arabic, Kurdish and other languages.

The main Arabic service is known to broadcast on six medium-wave frequencies. It has also been heard to mention six regional FM frequencies.

Other domestic services heard recently are:

Voice of Youth radio, which is run by Saddam's son Uday, and Holy Koran Radio.

Services that have not been heard recently are:

Voice of the Masses, aimed at both Iraq and the wider region, and Mother of Battles Radio, set up during the 1990-91 Gulf conflict.

Radio Iraq International is known to have broadcast in Arabic, English, German and French. But for several years the station had only one or two short-wave transmitters. Broadcasts became erratic then inaudible.

Baghdad-based TV stations comprise:

Republic of Iraq Television - the main domestic service, and Uday Hussein's Youth TV (Al-Shabab). Both are terrestrial.

Iraqi Satellite Channel - Broadcasts to viewers across the Middle East and Europe. State-run.

Broadcasts from abroad

Iraq's airwaves are saturated with transmissions beamed from abroad.

While the reception of satellite broadcasts is officially forbidden, a pay-TV service showing selected Arabic entertainment and sports channels has been introduced.

Short-wave and medium-wave radio listeners have access to a wide range of Arabic-language services from the Middle East and further afield.

The main international stations heard in Iraq are:

The BBC, the US-funded Radio Free Iraq (operated by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty from studios in Prague) and the US-funded Radio Sawa (Together).

Opposition services

In the north, rival Kurdish factions such as those led by Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani operate their own radios, TV stations and newspapers.

The Communist Party of Iraqi Kurdistan and other opposition groups also have their own outlets.

  • Voice of Iraqi Kurdistan - broadcasts from Salah al-Din in Kurdish and Arabic in support of Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
  • Voice of the People of Kurdistan - broadcasts from Sulaymaniyah in Kurdish and Arabic in support of Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
  • Voice of Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party - mouthpiece of the Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party.
  • Kurdistan TV - based in Salah-al-Din, mouthpiece of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
  • Kurdsat - based in Sulaymaniyah, mouthpiece of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
  • Voice of the Iraqi People - mouthpiece of the Iraqi Communist Party.
  • Radio Freedom - mouthpiece of the Communist Party of Iraqi Kurdistan.
  • Voice of Kurdistan Toilers - mouthpiece of the Iraqi Kurdistan Toilers party.
  • Voice of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq - opposition radio sponsored by the pro-Iranian Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).
  • Hurriyah (Liberty) TV - launched in 2001 by the London-based and US-funded Iraqi National Congress (INC). Broadcasts have now suspended amid concerns over financial management.
  • Mesopotamia Radio and Television from Arbil - First heard in October 2002.
Iraq's main dailies

There is likely to be a surge in clandestine media if the political and military temperature continues to rise. One possibility is a station with INC and US backing.

US military officials have said the Pentagon could start a "psy-ops" or psychological warfare campaign, similar to that used in Afghanistan.


Iraqi newspapers are all pro-regime. The Journalists' Union is headed by Uday Hussein.

The two papers most daring in criticising government policies are Babil (or Babel) and Al-Zawra - both headed by Uday.

There are five major daily newspapers: Al-Iraq, Al-Thawrah, Al-Jumhuriyah, Al-Qadisiyah and Babil.

Others include the English-language Iraq Daily and a sports paper, Al-Ba'th al-Riyadi.

There are also nine weeklies: Al-Zawra, Nabd al-Shabab, Sawt al-Talabah, Al-Rafidayn, Al-Iqtisadi, Al-Ra'y, Al-I'lam, Al-Ittihad and Alif Ba.

Uday heads the first four weeklies, as well as the Babil and Al-Ba'th al-Riyadi dailies.

More than 130 periodicals closed down following the UN-imposed trade embargo. All papers carry front-page pictures of Saddam Hussein.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

17 Oct 02 | Country profiles
11 Oct 02 | Media reports
03 Oct 02 | Media reports
04 Oct 02 | Middle East
28 Sep 02 | Media reports
11 Oct 02 | Media reports
17 Oct 02 | Media reports
16 Oct 02 | Media reports
27 Oct 02 | Media reports
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