State-owned media in Iraqi Kurdistan

The Iraqi Kurdish region is one of the Middle-East’s most notorious places for a lack in press freedom. Both tribes ruling the region, the Barzanis and Talabanis, are known for arresting and even assassinating journalists. But the lack of freedom goes much further than solely the persecution of those that are caught commenting their rulers, there is no Iraq-based Kurdish television channel that is not owned by one of the government officials. One can conclude that there is no objective news available outside of social media.

The most prominent and well-known Kurdish news channel is Rudaw. This channel is owned by Nechirvan Barzani. Kurdistan 24 and BasNews are both owned by Masrour Barzani. Also, the news outlet Wsha is owned by Masrour Barzani as well. Paragraph, a popular online news outlet, is made by the Kurdish intelligence service ‘Parastin’.

NRT, the most popular channel in the Sulaimaniah governate, is owned by Shaswar Abdulwahid. Esta is owned by Bafl Talebani, and Speda TV is heavily affiliated by the party Islami Yekgirtu. Lahor Talabani owns the media outlets Zhyan, Millet and Upcoming TV, while Qubad Talabani owns BMC, and Barham Saleh owns Xendan.

Other Kurdish channels, like Sterk TV, Ronahi TV, Freedom or Aryen TV, Cira Tv and so on, are made and produced by the PKK and their affiliated groups to propagate the party’s ideology and version of truth.

Residents of Iraqi Kurdistan often say they have to switch channels a few times, and compare the same story told in half a dozen different party-influenced ways, to be able to conclude what is really going on.

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