New Private Television Company in Iraq
It was announced Monday that IBC, a privately owned corporation in Iraqi hands, would launch the first privately owned television network in Iraq. (Although Turkey has privately owned television stations, the rest of the Arab world with the exception of Lebanon does not. Media is a government monopoly in dictatorships). IBC hopes to broadcast both locally and via satellite. It will give priority to hiring Iraqis as actors, producers, technicians, etc. The news release stressed the independence of the new channel. (al-Zaman)
If IBC supports a democratic Iraq, it could be a big development. If it is received by satellite in the rest of the Arab world, that could also be a big development. But one also has to worry about who exactly is behind it. Private media in Lebanon are closely tied to wealthy special interests, or, as with al-Manar, to the Hizbullah. After Rupert Murdoch and Silvio Berlusconi have shown how “private” media can actually be virtually monopolized for far rightwing political purposes, the new private channel holds as many dangers for Iraqi freedom as promises.