Promoting social cohesion through media in Iraq
August 11, 2022
The media plays an important role in influencing relations between diverse groups in society. In 2020, UNDP Iraq launched a Citizen Journalism Project with support from Denmark and Germany to enhance journalism’s contribution to social cohesion and build the capacity of over 200 young media professionals across Anbar, Babel, Baghdad, Basra, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala, Kirkuk, Najaf, Ninewa, Salah al-Din, and the Kurdistan region.
With local partner Civil Development Organization (CDO), the second phase of the project includes capacity building related to ethical journalism, combating hate speech and peacebuilding, population of an online media platform, media professional roundtables across Iraq resulting in a written report on the status of the media realm in Iraq, and a Peace and Coexistence Short Film Festival in September 2022.
Young media professionals regularly contribute stories, videos, and photos regarding social cohesion in Iraq to the “Diversity” or Tanoua platform.
"This story is titled From Anbar’s Peace to Basra’s Coexistence and it reflects the commitment of youth to promote communication and dialogue between all individuals, sects, and nationalities in Iraqi society. I indicate that strengthening communication between the various groups of Iraqi society contributes to building a new Iraq free of violence and conflict, and an incubator of diversity, love, and tolerance."
-Hassan Alaa, Journalist and master’s degree student in media, 26, Anbar
Christian cemetaries in Najaf: witnessing coexistence - "Although Najaf Governorate is considered the capital of Islamic Shiism, with a Muslim majority, they are proud of the presence of Christian cemeteries that they consider a part of the city’s heritage."
-Bashir Ali Selim, journalist and postgraduate journalism student, 30, Sulaymaniyah
People with visual impairment embody social cohesion - "My piece is about visually impaired people and how they embody social cohesion. It is important to talk about this group, as they defied difficult circumstances and obtained degrees, becoming influential in society. Despite their disabilities, they work hard to share messages of peace."
-Bushra Rasul Khayun, mass communication student, 32, Dhi Qar
Iraqi Dialogue and Peace Day: "This video embodies the dream that we are all working to achieve: a better tomorrow. I am certain that this day is very close, where the members of communities with various nationalities, religions and ethnicities live under one tent, one homeland. Where we are not separated by malicious groups and rumors."
-Mohammad Latif Kazem, news anchor, bachelor of communications – public relations, 27, Baghdad
Children of displaced camps celebrate International Children’s Day - "This is my favorite story, as I like to see the happy children. It reflects the difficult life of the displaced in camps, with children experiencing hardship, trying to find joy and happiness. It is not easy to live in camps for many years, and it is normal for children to face difficulties, but despite these circumstances they rejoice and celebrate International Children’s Day."
-Shukria Khalaf Hamy, painter and writer, pharmaceutical studies, 31, Sinjar, Ninewa
UNDP Iraq has launched in 2020 a dedicated five-year Social Cohesion Programme to promote stronger, peaceful, and more cohesive communities in all areas of Iraq.