This project, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) between 2005-2007 and 2009-2010, has two main components: strengthening Iraqi civil society and supporting independent Iraqi media.
Since 2004, Alternatives has been supporting the creation of a large network of civil society organizations in the country, the Iraqi Democratic Future Network (IDFN), which currently counts 16 member organizations. Through training courses, funding micro-projects, institutional support activities, conferences, international internships and developing communication tools, the first component of the project provides network members the skills and resources needed to advance human rights and democratization.
The second component of the project covers both the promotion of international journalistic standards in Iraq and the drafting of a code of ethics for the Iraqi press with five independent Iraqi media organizations: Aswat Al-Iraq, Al- Ahali, Awene, Assabah and Al-Adala. To date, 68 journalists from print, radio and television media have been trained.
Key results include:
Funding micro-projects has enabled the recruitment of several new volunteers and members for the IDFN, as well as the development of new regional offices.
The IDFN and its members, in coalition with other civil society organizations, conducted an effective advocacy campaign that helped, in February 2010, to amend the national NGO law. One of the most progressive laws in the region, it is now easier to work in civil society and civic engagement.
Journalists are better trained to cover elections and better equipped to avoid being manipulated by politicians.
Journalists are trained in the issue of gender equality, and promote the publication of articles that address gender issues.
Journalists are participating in the drafting of an internal code of ethics for their respective organizations.
Other news organizations have expressed interest in participating in our training activities and drafting an internal code of ethics, including Rudaw newspaper in Erbil and the television channel al-Iraqia, while the news site kurdistanonline has dedicated an entire page to reporting on women’s issues.