The Role of News Media In Supporting Democracy in Kurdistan Region

In 2018, Hataw Hamasalih as an Iraqi Kurdish media researcher has submitted his PhD thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Nottingham Trent University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Communication, Culture and Media Studies. In her thesis abstract stated that: “This thesis has chosen the Kurdistan Region of Iraq as a case study to examine the media’s function in newly democratised countries. In any new transitional democracy, the media will be influenced by the new political system and they will frequently be criticised for being unable to act as a watchdog because of the close relationship with the political elites. However, there are also many other factors, such as cultural, political and economic pressures that affect the development of the media. This thesis makes an original contribution by furthering understanding of the role of the media in supporting an emerging democracy in the Kurdistan Region after 2003. It argues that there is also an assumption the news media will try to keep their independence from political dominance, and work actively to expose the political and government wrongdoings. Therefore, this thesis aims to examine the state of the news media in playing the role of watchdog and holding power to account. It also assesses the working environment for journalists in Kurdistan to see whether the general situation encourages media to the same degree as in established democratic societies. To understand the current situation of the media and how the news media take a critical stance towards political corruptions, this thesis has conducted in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The results show that the media have demonstrated good practice in exposing corruption and malfeasance in the government. It argued that the media are present in the political scene and have performed their task as a forum for the public, providing the public with the necessary information. However, as a newly democratised country, the general environment in the political system is not helpful, for example, the executive, legislative and judicial authorities do not have enough power to play a key role in the democratic system. Various pressures on the media still exist, and the country lacks effective democratic institutions supporting the media, which are essential to build a strong democratic system. This has certainly limited the media’s ability to stand against political corruption and hold the government to account..” Now, This PhD thesis is available on the CHMK Website Page of English Studies page via below link:

CHMK; HATAW HAMASALIH 2018 The Role of News Media in Supporting Democracy in Kurdistan Region