Shafaq News/ Shafaq News Agency has claimed a leading position among the most visited news websites in Iraq, the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday.
Director of the Observatory, Mustafa Saadoun, said in an intervention during a discussion panel on the Iraqi media's coverage of the 2021 legislative election, "the election came shortly after a major turning point Iraq experienced as a result of the October protests. Media was not far from this change in the past two years. It was not just an observer. It was part of the issue sometimes, given that most media outlets are not independent and funded by political parties."
"Hundreds of newspapers, radio stations, news agencies, and TV channels were engaged in a frantic struggle before, during, and after the polling day... The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights team monitored the Iraqi media's coverage of the elections between September 10 to October 10. The study showed 1863 news and 47 broadcast hours via 14 channels and 10 top covering news agencies were dedicated to the election."
"The observatory relied on the mechanisms of media monitoring in accordance with international and local standards that document every information provided here, and we worked not to dismiss any institution active in covering the Iraqi legislative elections, regardless of its orientation."
"The task of choosing news channels and websites was very difficult, but to fill this gap, the researchers of the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights held several meetings and made contacts with civil society organizations, journalists, writers, and students in the media department to identify the channels and websites that may be the most-watched and influential in Iraqi society."
The observatory team concluded that "the ten news websites that have the highest readings, Shafaq News is one of which, have different political and ideological backgrounds, some of them stem from Islamic or secular discourses, others support the government."
The observatory team concluded that only 14 channels were followed by the Iraqis." as for the programs broadcast by these channels, many of which serve the political agendas of the funding source."
"This study seeks to tighten control over the media because of its importance in any democracy, especially developing democracies. It also tries to draw attention to the importance of adhering to the ethical and professional standards of media, regardless of the political agenda of the fund financiers."
For his part, the Director of Media and Relations at the Ministry of Interior and member of the Media Committee for Elections, Major-General Saad Maan, said during the conference, "this election was the least in terms of hate speech, sectarianism, slander, and blackmail in comparison with the elections held in previous years."
"Hotlines lines were provided over 24 hours. Our doors were opened to all media outlets on botvate and public voting days. We cooperated with the Media and Communications Commission, the Journalists' Syndicate, and with all media outlets."
"We have a department to combat rumors that works 24 hours a day in cooperation with the monitoring departments of the Ministries of Interior and Defense and other security services. We provided accurate and quick information after verifying its authenticity, even if it is a fake document that is verified and corrected."
A group of academic and media figures participated in the Iraqi media conference in the 2021 elections to monitor media violations during coverage of the legislative elections that were held on October 10.