Professional development

Job-shadowing, internships and project-based learning are not common practices in Iraq, as journalists often find themselves covering the ongoing war without any sort of training and contractual guarantee. This is the gloomy picture that emerges from the aforementioned ARIJ investigation conducted by Mustafa Sa'adun in 2016.

According to IJS and JFO figures, at the end of 2016, the victim toll was of 13 dead and 44 injured Iraqi journalists since IS conquered Mosul in June 2014, in comparison with not even a single injury among the 500 foreign and Arab journalists who worked there over the same period. The numbers are self-evident in revealing the existing gap between Iraqi and foreign journalists in terms of security training. With regards to the trainings, NUIJ organised several of them, but nothing related to the coverage of war, while IJS claimed to have trained 300 journalists without producing any evidence.

It all starts with the hiring policies, because most of these young reporters are catapulted into the battlefield without seeing any contract; in some cases they receive a mere administrative recruitment order. The lack of binding clauses allows their employers to fire them whenever they like and without any prior notice. To make things even worse, the aspiring correspondents might be asked to sign a waiver that strip them of any financial compensation or right to file a lawsuit. Moreover, risking your life at the front can pay as little as $35 per report. Now more than ever, with the media in constant need of 'human repository' to cover endless wars, the aspiring Iraqi reporters appear doomed to exploitation.