Violence is quickly escalating in Iraq, and the networks of the Broadcasting Board of Governors are bringing important news and information to the region.
Alhurra-Iraq has more than 20 journalists throughout the country and is providing live updates from hotspots including Kirkuk, Irbil and just outside the city of Mosul in Kalak. The daily newscast Iraq Today was expanded to two hours, and the network aired President Obama’s June 13 remarks on Iraq live with simultaneous translation. Alhurra-Iraq was the only Arabic channel to carry June 13th Pentagon briefing live.
The network’s daily talk show In Iraqi is featuring interviews with analysts and Members of Parliament as they address the security situation and the government’s response to terror group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). Free Hour examined the future of the confrontation and the need for international involvement with several guests including Pentagon Spokesperson Col. Steven Warren.
Radio Sawa has a dedicated stream to Iraq, and key newscasts have been expanded as needed to provide Iraqi listeners with the latest details on the ISIS surge. Radio Sawa’s journalists are covering the developments from throughout the country. Special reports have examined security in Nineveh; featured interviews with Members of Parliament, the Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S. and representatives of local governments, including the Mayor of Samara; and looked at the displacement of Iraqis as the move out of the Mosul region. Radio Sawa has also broadcast statements from President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry with U.S. reaction to the situation, including a live broadcast of the June 13 press briefing by President Obama in which he stated the U.S. would not be sending troops to Iraq.
The Iraq section of Alhurra.com and RadioSawa.com’s websites are also providing objective coverage of the escalating security crisis. In addition to broadcasting updates, analyses and background reports from Alhurra-Iraq and Radio Sawa’s Iraq stream, the websites are also utilizing videos from citizen journalists and eye witnesses, in addition to the reports from MBN correspondents.
RFE/RL and its Radio Free Iraq Service have also been extensively covering the quick advance of ISIS fighters into northern and central Iraq, the sudden collapse of the Iraqi military, the increased presence of Kurdish peshmerga troops, the Iraqi government’s attempts to address the crisis and neighboring Iran’s readiness to help the Iraqi government. The network also created a map showing ISIS advances in Iraq and examined what the Middle East would look like if unrest spurred a redrawing of borders along ethnic lines. RFE/RL video of refugees fleeing the city of Mosul was picked up by Vice News on June 11, while video coverage of the fighting was used on June 9 by Reuters and on June 10 by CNN.
Voice of America’s Turkish Service is also covering developments closely, with extensive reporting on the advance of ISIS toward the north, the U.S. reaction to events in Iraq, including President Obama’s statement on exploring options in the region, andthe emergency meeting the Turkish government called with NATO. The meeting was held in response to the seizure of the Turkish consulate in Mosul and the holding of 49 Turkish diplomats and family members, including children. The seizure is stoking concerns Ankara could intervene in the fast-spreading insurgency. The service is also providing expert analysis with interviews of, among others, Professor Soli Ozel of Istanbul Bilgi University; Professor Ahmet Han of Istanbul Kadir Has University; Professor and former State Department official Henri Barkey of Lehigh University; former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey; and Sinan Ogan, a member of Turkish parliament.