I met today with Deputy Editor, Lawen Sagerma and several capable reporters, editors and photographers of SOMA Digest, an English-language newspaper based in Sulaimani in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. General John Abizaid and a delegation of former U.S. military leaders joined me. SOMA, along with other media outlets and organizations such as the Institute for War and Peace Reporting’s Kurdistan office, are forging a promising path for Kurdistan’s emerging press, and were all impressed by the young and dedicated staff we met today.
In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, there are official party, government and independent news outlets, which have been developing since the uprisings of 1991, and more so since the liberation of Iraq in 2003.
Although we have progress to make, I know the KRG, is working to nurture the development of an independent and professional press in our rapidly emerging democracy. The recently passed press law for the Region provides the legal framework for a truly free, independent and professional press to emerge. Now we must ensure that the institutions of State uphold the rule of law, and journalists uphold high professional journalistic standards.
Check out this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_w80ZAS9KMs, of Lawen talking about how her paper appeals to the growing English-speaking community in the Kurdistan Region and her outlook for the future.