By arthur WeinrebTuesday, april 5, 2005
Iraqi journalists are receiving some help from the Institute for Media Policy and Civil Society (IMPaCS). Last February, the Vancouver based organization received $500,000 grant from CIDa to assist Iraq in developing a free and independent media. at the time that the grant was announced, Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew said: "Freedom of the press and a dynamic civil society are essential to democracy and good governance in Iraq. This initiative will allow us to provide Canadian expertise to build up capacity in support of Iraqis' aspirations of a democratic future."
according to Karim alrawi, the director of international media programs for IMPaCS, Iraq already has a free press. Those in the media can write or broadcast anything that they want and are not censored in any way. But the media is being influenced by political and religious forces. alrawi was quoted as saying, "once the media becomes a servant of a party or political movement, the truth becomes the first victim."
When the Canadian government gives grants like the half a million to IMPaCS, it is mainly for show. While "real countries" such as the United States and the U.K. are in Iraq getting their hands dirty, grants to help the media are a way of making the Canadian government feels good. If the government truly believed in a completely independent media they would throw some more money at IMPaCS and put them to work in Canada.
Influenced by political forces? a servant of a party or political movement? The truth becomes the first victim? Karim alrawi might as well have been speaking about the Canadian media, and in particular, the CBC. The CBC is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Liberal Party, advancing their views and portraying conservatives and the Conservative Party (in those situations where they feel they have to mention them) as a bunch of religious zealots and bigots who are out to destroy "Canadian values". The CBC's concept of balance is to present views of the left and the far left. Even U.S. networks such as CNN that are accused of a liberal bias have some conservative regulars on their programming such as Robert Novak. The people's network doesn't have anyone who strays from the Liberal/liberal line. as far as religion is concerned, the CBC is controlled by secularists who never miss an opportunity to bash organized religion in general and Christianity in particular.
Karim alrawi's analysis of the current state of the media in Iraq is equally applicable to the state of the Canadian media. When are we going to get some help?