Ahmed Mohammad – Iraqi Media House
An Iraqi Christian cleric declared that the Iraqi media focuses on minority issues mostly in the times of misfortunes and disasters in a very pathetic way as if they are not original Iraqis, while considered that; this drives them, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to leave the country, which constitutes a “great loss” for Iraq and its cultural, religious and civilizational diversity.
This came in an interview by (The Iraqi Media House), with Father Alber Hisham Naoum, the specialist in canonical media, and the assistant of chief editor of (Najem Almashreq magazine) that is issued by Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldean, he is also a teacher at several colleges and theological institutes, in Baghdad and Erbil.
Q / How do you evaluate the Iraqi media coverage of minority issues?
Naoum: By following the past few years, we see clearly that the Iraqi media focus on minority issues only when they are exposed to terrorist attacks and how they leaving the country.
There are denunciations, but it came with a tragic story, and it is happening when there are bombing of a church or the displacement of families or the assassination of one of our people, which gives a pathetic image of minorities.
Nevertheless, what about the achievements of minorities in the country? Aren’t Christians always try to spread the peace in different initiatives and events? Why all these events are not reflected in the Iraqi news?
Q / Did the Iraqi media dealt professionally with security incidents that hit minorities in general and Christians in particular? and how?
Naoum: In each security incident, there should be follow-up by press to present the real facts and find out the reasons of the attack, and follow judicial proceedings to prosecute the offenders.
For example, In the terrorist attack of “Our Lady of Salvation Church” in Karrada, central Baghdad, on the 31st of October 2010, when the terrorist group attacked the church and killed more than forty Christian citizen who were praying inside the church, the Iraqi press talked about this for few days, with the denouncing of different parts, but then nothing, without knowing the causes of this attack from the media and where the investigations reached. After quite a few months, particularly in August 2011, all we hear from the media is the death sentence on the perpetrators of the massacre, without knowing how they reached them.
As I mentioned, all what Iraqi media shows is the denunciation of the security incidents belong to Christians and minorities, perhaps because they do not have anything else to say, or maybe because they want to hide something and never publish!
Q / How did the Iraqi media dealt with what is happening with the minorities, including their migration?
Naoum: who read the news starts to think that the minorities are only a small group as if they are not Iraqis originally, but they are afraid for their future. In every attack to a church, the media describes that Christians as frightened group who became smaller group since they are always ready to leave there country. Telling only this part of Christian lives without talking about their achievements, drive them to leave the country.
Q / What do you recommend the Iraqi media to do on the coverage of minority issues?
Naoum: I really hope that Iraqi media give a positive image of diversity of Iraqi people and do not focus on the conflicts raising between them only. This needs a great effort by the media to highlight the events that shows the bright side of the minorities’ role in this country. The peace is the message of the media; therefore, ignoring one of the Iraqi components do not contribute in spreading this message.
Father Alber Hisham Noam holds a master’s degree in canonical media from the Italian capital Rome.
His thesis, in the Arabic and international press dealt with the attack on “Our Lady of Salvation church”, by following twenty Arabic newspaper that covered that attack.
Through his thesis, he has conducted an analysis of the news and articles that touched upon the Christians of Iraq, starting from the attack on “Our Lady of Salvation church” to the first annual anniversary, between 2010 and 2011. He came out with results that reflect how the local and international press interesting of Christians in Iraq.