Digital media

Iraq's Internet development lags way behind that of other Arab states with the exception of war-torn Yemen and Syria. In 2011, the Dubai Press Club-Deloitte Arab Media Outlook estimated that broadband penetration reached as little as 0.1 percent of the Iraqi population. Yet, according to BBC Monitoring, Internet penetration has grown significantly quickly between 2014 and 2016. In 2016, Internetlivestats.com has detected 4.9 million Iraqi Internet users, around 13 percent of the population. The BBG-Gallup 2016 joint research has also found that the number of Iraqi Internet users is on a rise due to better mobile network coverage. Mobile penetration was already assessed to cover 87 percent of the population in 2011, according to the Arab Media Outlook. Having said that, TV remains the most popular media in both Iraq and KRG, with the autonomous region scoring better, since 72 percent of its homes are served by an Internet connection. In fact, Alexa.com figures show that, in Iraq, the only non-international websites among the top-ten for visitors are two Kurdish news websites, Dwarozh.net (5th) and NRT TV (7th).

One of the most brilliant Iraqi digital journalistic initiatives is to be credited to Niqash.org, clearly not because of the number of visitors, but for the quality of its contents. Since 2005, this network of young Iraqi journalists from all over the country has provided in-depth coverage of diverse social, political and cultural issues, shedding light on forgotten geopolitical disputes (such as the plight of the Iraqi marshes and the related role of Turkey and Iran) and peripheral land grabs. The platform is trilingual (Arabic, English and Kurdish) and it has been supported by Media in Cooperation and Transition (MiCT), a Berlin-based media development NGO.In February 2017 Niqash had to temporarily stop its activities due to funding constraints, a plague that has affected many other media projects that are too dependent on short-term grants with limited sustainability.