A historical look at the Iraqi press

A historical look at the Iraqi press

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The modern literary renaissance that pervaded the Arab world, including “Iraq” since the nineteenth century as a result of the East-West meeting following Napoleon’s campaign against Egypt was the birth of the Arab press in general and Iraq in particular. The Iraqi press has fought illiteracy, poverty and illiteracy, and fought to liberate the nation. It demanded political and social reform and fought tyranny, aggression, feudalism, tyrannical rulers, and considered itself a national school without being a trade project. In Iraq, many different newspapers were published and dealt with several issues of different stages: the Ottoman era, the British occupation, the royal era, and the republic. It was a decisive periods in the history of Iraq and it has an active role to interact with events occurred and accompanied these different eras which reflect the cultural and social background of the Iraqi society with its political, economic and partisan dimensions that left traces till the present time ..
The Iraqi press has gone through several eras:
First: the press of the Ottoman era
– The story of the Iraqi press begins with the appointment of the Ottoman wali Medhat Pasha to Iraq, where he brought with him a printing press from Paris and founded the newspaper Al-Zaura in 1869, an official newspaper and at the same time , he was the first to take over the editorial, where he was a reformist mentality and liberal and called of Abu Ahrar . Al-Zaura produced in its first edition a true picture of the projects of the wali Medhat Pasha in the field of modernizing Iraq, followed by Izzat al-Farouqi, Ahmad al-Shawi al-Baghdadi, Taha al-Shawaf, Muhammad Shukri al-Alusi, Abdul Majid al-Shawi and Jamil Sedqi al-Zahawi. .
– Then appeared official newspapers in Mosul in 1885 and Basra in 1895. One of the first Iraqi journalists was Abdu al-latif Thunayan of Saudi origin who published the newspaper Al-Raqeeb in 1909 and died in 1944. After the declaration of the Ottoman Constitution in 1908, 25 newspapers and magazines were published in Iraq, including 19 newspapers and magazines in Baghdad, most notably the al-Raqeep. Then Sada Babel newspaper was published by Dawood Islewa al-Museli, he was a teacher and the first edition was issued in 1909. In Mosel, the Nineveh newspaper published in 1909, Al-Najah newspaper on 12-11-1910, in Basra the constitution was issued on 22-1-1912, the Arabic language magazine issued by Father Anastas Mary al-Karmali in 1911 and the newspaper Al-Nahda by its owner Muzahim Pachachi In 1913, and all these news papers contributed in the movement of Arab Awakening to get rid of the Ottoman occupation).

Second: the press during the British occupation period between 1914 – 1918
When the British occupied Baghdad in 1917, the famous Al-Zaura newspaper was stopped and they issued Al-Arab newspaper on July 4, 1917, after they had prepared its printing needs. It was announced that it was (Arab,, historical, political newspaper ) and the purpose of its foundation in Baghdad is for Arabs . Occupiers were keen to issue newspapers that reflect their policy and view, and these newspapers include (Sada al- Haqiqa) al-Baghdadiya , and (the Arabs) al-Baghdadiya, and (Awqat) al-Basra , Miss Bill , the British Chancellor of the East in Baghdad has made efforts to issue these newspapers and there are other newspapers such as the newspaper of al-Isitqlal , the owner of the newspaper Abdul Ghafoor al-Badri, the newspaper (Degla) of Dawood al-Saadi, and the newspaper (Badeaa) of Dawood al-Ajeel .. All of them opposed the British policy in Iraq.
Third: Press the revolution of the twentieth
The most important newspapers (Euphrates), which express the tongue of the revolutionaries and their demands and Istiqlal newspaper “independence”, where they were the finest legacy of the newspaper left by the “revolution of the twentieth” and forming one of the most beautiful pages of the Iraqi press
Fourth: the press of national governance
After the foundation of the Iraqi state in 1921, the demand for the establishment of parties and the publication of newspapers became the mouthpiece of those parties, including the newspaper of al-Hezeb al-Watani (National Party) headed by Mr. Jaafar Abu Altman, and the newspaper of Hezeb al-Nahdha (Party of Renaissance). In the 1930s, the first issue of Al-Ahli newspaper was issued by its editor-in-chief, Hussein Jamil, calling for reforms. The Al-Alam al-Arabi newspaper “The Arab World” by its owner Salim Hassoun was issued in 1934 and was known for its national positions and sought to fight sectarian strife.

During the coup of Bakr Sedqi in 1936, the poet Mohammed Mahdi Al-Jawahiri, the first head of journalists syndicate , he issued a newspaper in the name of Inklab ( the coup d’état.) Then , the newspaper of Al-Uqab was published by Yunus Bahri in 1933 and Al-Wadi magazine by Khalid Aldra, and Habazbooz magazine of Nuri Thabet, as well as the al-Defaa (defense) newspaper of its owner Sarkis Sourani.
Fifth: partisan journalism
This era includes news papers of the communist party such as (al-Kifah al-Shaab ), ( al-Shararh) , (Ithad al-Shaab), all these papers were issued in secret . The Communist Party published al-Thaqafa al-Jadeedah ( the new culture magazine) in 1954, and it continued to be published. Following the revolution of July 14, 1958, the Communist Party issued a newspaper called Ithad al –Shaab (The People’s Union). As for the Kurdish parties, they have published newspapers, the most important of which is the Shorash newspaper. The KDP also has several newspapers, including the He-Batt newspaper, ie, the struggle. Also published in 1952 magazine (Yari Kurdistan).
At the end of the 1940s of the last century , Istiqlal news paper was issued ( the newspaper of Independence Party) , led by Sheikh Mohammad Mahdi Kubba,. And al-Nida newspaper of Noor AL-din Daood, and al-Jareeda newspaper of Faiq AL-Samarai in 1953 – he is one of the leaders of the independence party. .
In 1953, the Baath Party issued a newspaper called Al-Arabi al-Jadeed “The New Arab” and later became al-Ishtraki news paper ( a socialist newspaper) that contributed to the dissemination of the party’s ideas and objectives. After the movement of February 8, 1963, the al-Jamaheer newspaper was issued r (the masses) of its owner Karim Mahmoud.
Sixth: Journalism of the Republican era
The first newspaper published after the revolution of 1958 is the al-Joumhouria newspaper (Republic) in four pages only. In 1959, the first syndicate of journalists was formally formed. The poet Mohammed Mahdi Al-Jawahiri assumed the post of first head of Syndicate of Iraqi journalists.
Also it was published in the beginning of 1959 newspaper called Ithad al-Shaab (the People’s Union), speaking on behalf of the Communist Party of Iraq, as well as the al-Thawra newspaper was issued (revolution) of the owner Younis al-Tai, in addition to the existence of newspapers such as al-zaman newspaper of its owner Tawfiq al-Samaani, and al-Hurya news paper (freedom) owner of Qasim Hamoudi, and al-Akhbar newspaper (news) Joseph and Gibran Malakoon, and al-Shaab newspaper (the people) of the owner Yahya Kassem, and al-Bilad newspaper (the country) to Faiq Butti, and al-Ahrar newspaper (the free) ,the owner Awni Bakr Sedki .. and other newspapers and magazines.
In 1964, (Sawt al-Arab newspaper) was published by its owner Fawzi Abdul Wahed, ( Al-Manar) by its owner Abdul Aziz Barakat, (Sawt Al-Amal) newspaper ,( Al-Shaab) newspaper, (Al-Nasr )newspaper ,( Al-Ahd Al-Gadid ) newspaper, (Al-Zaman ) (al-Hurya), . In 1965 the newspaper ( al-Mutafarij)) of the artist Hamid al-Mahal as well as a newspaper for the humor of the Hamid al-Mahal .

The most prominent journalists in Iraq are:
– Ibrahim Hilmi Al-Omar (described as the largest journalist in Iraq)
Father Karamli
– Sadik Azadi
-Roufael Butti was born in Mosul
Javad Hebauddin Shahristani
– Ibrahim Salih Shukr
– Ahmed Fawzi Abdel-Jabbar
As well as hundreds of early Pioneer journalists.

The challenges facing the Iraqi press are:
1 – Political control
2 – Laws governing the work of journalists in Iraq, as these laws in general in Iraq subject to political moods and influential parties.
3. Skills of the journalist
4. The lack of funding
5 – political fluctuations and the latest American occupation in 2003
The Iraqi press faced various political and social challenges, but it remained a true expression of Iraqi public opinion seeking to achieve its goals.

Maryam Mudhaffar Al-Kusairi

Translated by : mudhaffar al-kusairi

Media Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies