Wednesday, April 16, 2014

RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq

Radio Free Iraq provides in-depth news and analysis and fosters informed, balanced debate of issues that are not otherwise reported in the country's fragmented media.

Fast Facts

  • Language: Arabic
  • Established: 1998
  • Distribution: Radio (FM, AM, satellite), Internet (website, mobile, social media)
  • Coverage: Radio: 17 hours daily
  • Locations: Prague, Baghdad
  • Staff: 12 in Prague, 38 stringers in Baghdad and major Iraqi cities

Media Environment

  • Security concerns and government policies continued to challenge the development of a free press in Iraq. Journalists are targets for their views and face threats, arrests and violence.
  • Defamation and libel remain criminal offenses in Iraq.


  • Radio Free Iraq consistently leads local media in live coverage of important events such as local and national elections and protests. Radio Free Iraq also reports on cultural and social issues other Iraqi media often ignore, such as discrimination, honor killings, domestic violence and corruption.
  • In May 2013, Radio Free Iraq reported on a situation that other Iraqis merely whispered about -- the fact that Iraqi volunteers were streaming over the border with Syria to join both sides of the sectarian violence in their war-torn neighbor.
  • Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari gave Radio Free Iraq the first official Iraqi reaction to the re-election of Barak Obama as U.S. President in November 2012. Zebari visited Radio Free Iraq in Prague in April 2011, where he said that he and his Iraqi Cabinet colleagues listen to RFI and discuss issues raised during programs in their meetings.
  • Iraqis incarcerated at a prison in Saudi Arabia contacted Radio free Iraq correspondents via smuggled phones in 2009 to describe conditions in the jail. RFI reported the story, prompting Iraqi authorities to negotiate with their Saudi counterparts to secure the repatriation of dozens of detainees.
  • In September 2012, Radio Free Iraq was honored by provincial authorities in Basra with a “Beit Al-Hikma Award for Innovation and Excellence” for coverage of cultural and social affairs in the province.

Updated: 21 August 2013

Facts & Stats

32.58 million (World Bank estimate, 2012)

Most Common Languages:
Arabic, Kurdish, Turkoman, Assyrian, Armenian

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Not Free, ranked 153 out of 196 (2013)

Press Freedom Index (RSF):
150 out of 179 (2013)

Corruption Index (Transparency Int.):
169 out of 174 (2012)

Global Peace Index (IES):
159 out of 162 (2012)

Human Rights Watch:
Report on Iraq (2012)

Amnesty International:
Iraq Report (2012)

Service Snapshot: Nabil Ahmed

Radio Free Iraq's Nabil Ahmed

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