Saturday, August 30, 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, satellite), Internet (website, mobile, social media)
  • Coverage: Satellite/Internet: 20 hours daily, Radio: 17 hours daily; MBN's Radio Sawa is using 6.5 hours daily on its AM
  • Locations: Prague, Baghdad
  • Staff: 11 in Prague, 6 in Baghdad, 40 stringers in Baghdad and major Iraqi cities, as well as Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Russia, Syria, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Yemen.


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.
  • In March 2014, Radio Free Iraq Baghdad Bureau chief Mohammed Bdaiwi Owaid al-Shammari was shot dead at the gates of the presidential compound in Baghdad’s Jadriyah neighborhood, following an argument with a member of the Kurdish peshmerga forces. Radio Free Iraq also suffered the loss of two Iraq-based journalists in 2007, during the height of sectarian violence.


  • 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.
  • CNN, Reuters, Vice News and other respected international media outlets have featured Radio Free Iraq video reporting as part of their coverage of the restive region.
  • 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.
  • 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: 18 June 2014

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 157 out of 197 (2014)

Press Freedom Index (RSF):
153 out of 180 (2014)

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

Service Snapshot: Nabil Ahmed And Iraq's 'Economic Report'

Nabil Ahmed, Radio Free Iraq's veteran economic analyst, speaks about his native country and his hopeful outlook for the future. More