MAI news

Media Academy Iraq takes election coverage focus to Beirut symposium


14.04.2018, Beirut


Media Academy Iraq (MAI) held an open symposium in Beirut on April 14th on the role of public information in the 2018 elections in Iraq. Twelve heads and directors of media participated, alongside senior MAI trainers and managers.


The director of media organisation FU stressed the need for information in the election period to be transparent, fair and free of party or candidate affiliation.


“Parliament did not work properly, did not act as an observer and an accountant and did not contribute to the promulgation of laws that help to develop the political process and state institutions and bring about change in government and society,” said one participant at the conference.


An expert on electoral affairs and the former director general of the operations service of the independent high electoral commission, Dr. Walid Al-Zaidi, then highlighted the challenges facing the electoral process, which he summarized as:


  • The vote of displaced persons
  • The potential decline in the proportion of participants in the elections
  • The use of electronic voting systems for the first time


    Al-Zaidi addressed the regulatory framework for the work of the media during elections, including identifying violations, the electoral campaign system and penalties for offenders.


    According to al-Zaidi, the adoption of the Iraqi National Identity card, introduced in 2016, would reduce the number of participants in the elections and the majority of those who did not have the card would be denied the vote.


    The secretary of the national news agency then gave an overview of the reality of the media landscape and analyzed what are the opportunities for balanced and professional media coverage. Participants noted that many candidates deceive the public through the use of bright slogans, some of which bare no relation to their legislative work or policy.


    Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in Iraq on May 12th. Catch up on all the details with, MAI’s trilingual sister news platform.


    The symposium was concluded by Dana Asaad, head of Media Academy Iraq, who held an open dialogue with Iraqi experts and media professionals.


    Media promoting reconciliation project continues across Iraq


    11.04.2018 – Ongoing, Baghdad & nationwide


    Tasalah, the Iraqi media promoting reconciliation project continued its busy run up to the forthcoming parliamentary elections with a spate more workshops, including a course on data journalism in Baghdad and another in Sulaymaniyah on verification.


    Tasalah is a project by Media Academy Iraq, MiCT & CFI.


    MAI conducts series of workshops on fair election reporting across Iraq


    06.04.2018 – Ongoing, Baghdad, Kalar, Amarah


    With parliamentary elections scheduled for May 2018, Media Academy Iraq, in partnership with the French organization CFI, has been conducting a series of workshops geared at strengthening the integrity of the local media landscape and the skills of journalists who are tasked with reporting on elections. Local media have already raised fears that the elections could be marred by the role of militias and outside forces – MAI and CFI’s workshops aim to reinforce the democratic landscape.


    A series of workshops in February in Baghdad, which were heavily attended by stakeholders, focused on the basics of reporting in a fair and transparent manner during elections, with a particular emphasis on the verification of sources. Other workshops in the Iraqi capital focused on the very real problem of identifying and deconstructing fake news.


    A workshop in Amarah geared at election monitors focused on how individuals can establish a successful strategy for monitoring media during elections, including how to detect signs of fake news, hate speech or attempts to manipulate the outcome of elections through incorrect information.


    A further workshop on topics relevant to journalists reporting on elections was held in Kalar. More workshops focused on impartiality, transparency and verification of sources are scheduled in the run-up to the election period.


    Report on MAI workshop on election monitoring in Amarah featured on TV


    19.03.2018, Baghdad


    An Iraqi TV station did a feature profile about MAI’s recent workshop in Amarah. Full link here


    MAI, CFI and MiCT hold special training for reporters covering the forthcoming Iraqi elections


    25.02.18, Baghdad


    More than 20 participants took part in a tailor-made journalism course geared towards media professionals covering the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Baghdad and surrounding areas.


    The course was held from February 19-22 in Baghdad. Iraqi parliamentary elections are scheduled for May 2018. Trilingual Iraqi news and features site Niqash has all the details and minutiae about the process.


    The workshop aimed to enhance and support the skills of journalists in dealing with various aspects of the electoral process.
    It included theory elements as well as practical exercises.


    MAI contributes to Iraqi journalism curriculum


    16.12.17, Baghdad


    Media Academy Iraq participated in a conference in Baghdad to help design an investigative journalism curriculum for the University of Baghdad’s media department.


    Media Academy Iraq last month took part in one of the country’s largest gatherings around the theme of investigative journalism in December 2017 in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.The objective was to create a new investigative journalism curriculum for the university’s Department of Communication.


    The conference was held on campus at the University of Baghdad on December 16th and 17th. The Independent Media Support Organization (IMS), the French Embassy in Baghdad and the NRIJ Network and the Network for Voluntary Lawyers for Freedom of Expression were all partners in the project.


    “This project is one of the most important projects in 2017 because it helps to establish and teach investigative journalism in Iraqi universities, and it is one of the most important needs in the Iraqi society, which is plagued by corruption and exploitation of power,” said Dr. Hashim Hassan, head of the conference management committee.


    Media Academy Iraq provided 10 workshops specifically on investigative journalism in Iraq in 2017 alone, according Dlovan Barwari, a senior MAI representative.


    MAI transitional justice and journalism workshops in post-ISIS Mosul


    09.11.2017, Mosul


    Journalists, activists and bloggers in Nineveh Governorate – which includes the city of Mosul – have been the recipients of a series of workshops on different aspects of journalism.


    About 50 journalists, activists and bloggers participated in three training workshops on the arts of journalism to develop their capabilities in the field of news, feature writing and in-depth reports on the reality of the Governorate.


    The courses were designed to enable participants to prepare accurate news material, according to the principles of professional writing and the ethics of journalism. Until recently, many participants could only dream of partaking in such a course: only last year, Mosul was still a city occupied by ISIS.


    READ ALSO – NIQASH: How did extremists take over Mosul?


    Over the past six weeks, the workshops were organized by the Nerig Network for Investigative Journalism and the Network of Lawyers for the Defense of Freedom of Expression.


    Supported by Media Academy Iraq (MAI), each workshop lasted four days. The first day was devoted to the basics and structure of news writing, the second to analyzing news stories. On the last day, participants wrote their own stories. The workshops concluded with a focus on writing for social media and a brief overview of the legal issues involved in writing for the press.


    The first workshop was held in the Duhok Club Hall in Duhok City between 6-9 October, with the participation of 15 journalists, bloggers and activists from various components of Nineveh Governorate.


    The second workshop was held at the Neighborhood Jarra Hotel in Erbil between October 14-17, with the participation of 16 journalists, bloggers and activists from various components of the governorate. The third workshop was held from 6 to 9 November in Mosul, with the participation of 18 journalists, bloggers and activists.


    Three workshops were organized to strengthen media infrastructure and capacity in Nineveh after many years of marginalization. After three years of the rule of ISIS, journalism has suffered.


    By supporting the skills of young journalists, bloggers and activists – and enabling them to write in accordance with the principles of professional journalism – MAI is aiming to contribute to the reconstruction of civil society in Nineveh.


    The workshop was attended by a large number of participants who presented ideas and hypotheses for a series of stories on social, health, environmental, economic, administrative and political issues. They expressed their readiness to turn these pitches into in-depth reports.


    The training focused on the development of the participants’ abilities to complete stories and reports and publish them on websites or on social media pages.


    These have become the only platforms for publishing news, stories and reports in Nineveh due to the absence of newspapers and news sites covering the affairs of the province. The workshops concluded with numerous press stories and reports, helping to fill the void of professional content in many platforms.


    The workshop was part of a project to develop the capacity of journalists and bloggers of different backgrounds (Arab, Kurd, Turkmen, Muslims, Yazidi, Christians, Yazidon, Shabak) in the Nineveh Governorate.


    Most had in common that they were young people. Together, they created a healthy dialogue, building partnerships to carry forward into their work on media projects together. Nineveh needs journalists and media outlets: There are currently no newspapers or electronic sites covering the affairs of the province.


    Media Academy Iraq’s director Dana Asaad said that “the workshops are part of the media development and peace-building project in Nineveh, and include specialized training on different aspects of journalism.” He pointed out the great need for such projects. “Professional media rejects hate speech,” said MAI’s Asaad.


    Each workshop lasted four days and explored news writing, styles of writing in both languages, as well as investigative reporting. The basics of creating interesting narratives in social networks was also explored.


    Participants also received legal advice and information to avoid falling into usage of hate speech, defamation and the subsequent legal accountability.


    Media Academy Iraq, in coordination with other supporting organizations, is working to train and empower young media resources. It aims to create a cohort of qualified journalists equipped with the highest levels of based on professionalism and objectivity.


    Media Academy Iraq in the first half of 2017


    22.06.2017, Erbil


    Media Academy Iraq has once again being zigzagging the country to provide high-quality journalism courses to a range of participants. Read on for more details.


    We are only half way through 2017 but it has already been a busy year for Media Academy Iraq (MAI), the apex of journalism training based in Erbil since 2004. Never resting on the laurels of previous years, MAI’s expert media, marketing and communication trainers have continued to zigzag the country to conduct journalism courses.


    Despite the doom and gloom affecting mainstream media houses across the globe in 2016, MAI ended the year on a high. Expert trainer Haider al-Janabi led an investigative journalism workshop shortly before Christmas, which was attended by local journalists, but also by Najaf Governor Louay al-Yasiri, who thanked MAI for the role and efforts of the academy in developing the skills of journalists in Iraq, especially in Najaf.


    Meanwhile – on the opposite side of the country – in Sulaimaniyah, a workshop on the basics of radio broadcasting was underway for female participants. The workshop was led by trainer Jaza Mohamed.

    MAI kicked off 2017 with a workshop in Nasiriyah City at the University of Thiqar in early January. Communications expert Yasser Ismail led the workshop on marketing principles for a group of students at the university.


    Media Academy Iraq remains committed to working with clients in the private and public sector and conducts workshops across Iraq, in collaboration with a plethora of universities, media houses, NGOs and local partners. In April this year MAI conducted a series of workshops with students from Baghdad University with Yassir Ismail resuming his role as marketing trainer at one of the country’s leading faculties.


    A parallel two-day workshop on ‘verification’ methods was conducted with private satellite TV channels kurdsat and NRT in Sulaimaniyah.


    May proved to be a busy month with a flourish of courses occurring before the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. Yassir Ismail travelled to Diwaniya to conduct a course on marketing for local radio stations.


    A workshop on digital media was also conducted in Kirkuk. Amidst the busy schedule, the Media Academy Iraq’s Ethics Committee met to conducted their AGM in Sulaimaniyah on May 15.


    A new series of workshops kicked off in June in partnership with the al sabah daily. The first of these was conducted at the Iraqi media house’s HQ in Baghdad and focused on marketing and advertising.


    Meanwhile the biannual training of trainers event, one of MAI’s landmark capacity building programs, occurred in Berlin.


    Stay tuned for more details of how Media Academy Iraq will work with local and international media houses – across all formats and across the whole country – throughout 2017 in Iraq to help create a sustainable and highly-skilled media landscape.


    Contrary to reports, the Clock Church was not destroyed in Mosul


    16.11.2016, Mosul
    by Hady Al-Khatib


    An investigation by The Iraqi Digital Investigation Team (IDIT) and Media Academy Iraq (MAI) showed that ISIS did not destroy the ‘Clock Church’ in Mosul in May this year, contrary to international media reports at the time:



    Iraqi Digital Investigation Team (IDIT) confirms ISIS destruction of Gate in Nineveh


    29.08.2016, Erbil
    by Hady Al-Khatib



    For more statistics about Media Academy Iraq, please see here.