Media and Democracy
I’m no expert on Iraq, so this will be a sharp learning curve for me. While browsing through a few stories I came across a comment at Hit and Run that, while humorous, made me think:-
I wonder just how Americanized this election will be.
Will the ads feature the line “I’m Iyad Allawi and I approve this
Will there be a group “Tank Vets For Truth” claiming that some guy
didn’t really earn his medals during the war against Iran in the
Inquiring minds want to know.
OK, the comment was meant partly in jest, but there’s a serious point there. Just how will the campaigning function, especially on such a short time frame? The Iraq election, all being well, will occur at the end of January. In the US and here in the UK the candidates would already be campaigning at break-neck speed, millions of pounds and dollars already sacrificed on the altar of advertising. The tabloids would be plastered with scandal - the candidates past dissected once and again, every aspect of their lives laid out for public consumption.
But what about Iraq? In a world in which the difference between an inauguration and disgrace can hinge on a single issue (Swift Vets, National Guard service etc.), which issues will paint the pictures of the candidates that the voters will take to the polls? More importantly, which media sources will paint those pictures?
The post-Saddam era has seen a media free-for-all emerge in Iraq. Indeed,
due to the complete lack of law and order, Iraq for the time being easily has
the freest media in the entire Middle East and North Africa region.
With all these shiny new media outlets sprouting up, the opinions of the people may depend strongly on which of these media can proliferate fastest; who can push their opinion most efficiently.
Crossposted at Iraq Elections Blog.