News agencies

The case of the National Iraqi News Agency (NINA) is a good example of how a great deal of Iraqi media projects have struggled to make ends meet and resist to partisan cooptation, once the donor's funding dried out. NINA was set up by IREX with USAID funds in 2005; the plan was to develop a sustainable news agency within three years by cashing in subscription fees from Iraqi media. However, the project failed to generate enough commercial revenues and, when the USAID funding was over, NINA was compelled to look for a new patron. Eventually, the heavily politicised Iraqi Journalists' Syndicate (IJS) accepted to support the agency, thus incidentally fulfilling one of its objectives listed in the 1969 law as "the establishment of a news agency." What was supposed to become a commercially viable public service was therefore turned into the IJS media arm.

The fate of Aswat al-Iraq (Iraq's Voices) was even bleaker, as the agency had to stop its services around four years ago, probably due to financial constraints. It was originally established in 2004 thanks to UNDP funding, with the additional support of Internews and the Reuters Foundation. In Kurdistan, noteworthy news websites and agencies include Shafaaq News and pro-KDP Zagros News Agency.

Finally, Amaq is believed to be the Islamic State's news agency, even though the connection has been refused by the jihadist group. The agency's press releases are usually redistributed by US-based SITE Intelligence Group and regularly quoted by major international news organisations. In line with IS' advanced technological know-how, Amaq has already launched a mobile app and a Telegram account. The Iraqi media's version of the events in the context of the war on IS is regularly disputed by Amaq accounts. At first sight, what strikes is that this agency appears much more dynamic and actively engaged on social media than the aforementioned Iraqi official news agencies.