Manufacturing Consent in Iraq: Interference in the post-Saddam media sector
The toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003 saw Iraq's media sector shift from a handful of state-run media outlets that served as propaganda machines, to a vast array of Iraqi-owned newspapers, radio stations and television channels which are being fervently produced and avidly consumed nationally. Not unexpectedly, several problems have accompanied this divergent, ad-hoc and highly volatile mediascape. Although recognizing important factors, including dangers faced by Iraqi journalists, and the dearth of appropriate press laws, this article focuses instead on attempts by certain key foreign and domestic political bodies to manufacture consent in Iraq via their interference in the post-Saddam media sector. These foreign influences are Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States, each of which funds, controls and manipulates different Iraqi media outlets. Not surprisingly, the United States has been the most active in this respect, utilizing both overt and clandestine propaganda techniques as well as forced closures to control the Iraqi media sector. Unfortunately, measures such as these are not limited to foreign governments: both the Iraqi government and the Kurdish Regional Government have used similar means to control and silence Iraq's nascent public sphere. The article concludes by noting the irony of limited press freedom in Iraq during this crucial phase of its transition from despotism to democracy.
International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies