Iraqi media’s experience during the last nine years created a distinctive media arena the Iraqi media star Falah Al Thahabi said.
He added in an interview with ‘Arabstoday’ that the ongoing events in the Middle East have changed the form of traditional media, with its old means, bringing new ways such as websites and social networks, which attract new a type of audience.
Al Thahabi who is the managing director of Al Hurra Iraq TV in Baghdad office and the presenter of weekly political program (Al-Nahrin Talk) said “according to watching the Iraqi audience, I can say they followed what happened in Egypt and Tunisia and compared these with what happened in Iraq, but I can assure you the most important issue for Iraqis is Iraq.”
He added “Iraq was one of the Arab countries that suffered the most from the one-man rule and was the first country that overthrew its rule, so the media in Iraq changed before changing in any other country in the region; we can say Iraq was a media pioneer in the Middle East.”
Al Thahabi thinks the political-party-oriented media in Iraq proves that Iraq is moving towards democracy, and finding its way into international media.
Regarding the relation between Iraqi government and media in Iraq, Al Thahabi said “everyone is in the learning phase, because Iraq lived a long time under the rule of one man which means one party, one president, and one point of view in media, and change takes time,” adding that Iraq hasn’t reached the ideal phase, but at all levels Iraq is better than it was in 2003.
On the other hand, Al Thahabi expressed his confusion at the way that the Western media deal with events in Iraq, saying “I cannot assure that the Western media is fair when it’s dealing with Iraqi affairs, but it can be excused because of the culture differences between West and the Middle East, in addition to their problems with translation, while we can trust the image that transmits a large part of the event.”
Regarding the targeting of media figures in Iraq by militant groups, Al Thahabi said “militant groups target poor people and construction workers, and we don’t know why, so targeting media figures is not a surprise.”
In relations to his work with US based Al Hurra TV, funded by the U.S. Congress, and its professionalism in news, Al Thahabi said “I think we were able to win audience's trust, and we are saying the truth.”