Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 9th October 2006.

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Photo of Danny Alexander Danny Alexander Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of community-based media in Iraq; what her policy is on supporting and developing community-based media; and what monitoring of community-based media in Iraq is undertaken by her Department.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The UK plays a leading role in helping Iraqis to develop the media and telecommunications sector. Iraq's media are flourishing and are supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development (DFID) and the international community. We have helped to establish institutions such as the independent Iraqi National Communications and Media Commission—the first independent converged communications regulator in the Arab world—and al-iraqiya, the Iraqi Public Broadcasting service. There are over 80 radio stations and 21 television stations broadcasting in Iraq. About 250 newspapers and periodicals are published. These outlets represent all shades of Iraqi opinion.

DFID has supported training for Iraqi journalists, delivered by the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, and helped to develop independent media in the south of Iraq, through a £7.5 million programme run by the BBC World Service Trust. This programme funded the establishment of community-based radio and television in southern Iraq, which has established a strong reputation for fair, accurate reporting.

The Government continue to offer advice and assistance for the development of national media and telecommunications policy.

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