KirkukNow Relaunches as the Media Platform for Citizens in Iraq’s “Disputed Territories”
March 28, 2017 at 3:31 pm
Kirkuk | 10 April 2017 A number of students attending National Costume Day festival Photo: Muhammed Bawany
Iraq’s disputed territories remain an issue of fundamental significance for peace and stability in the country; these areas have become the centre of attention since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, and more importantly since the Islamic State (ISIS) overran large swathes of northern and western Iraq in 2014. KirkukNow is the only independent news website that works to build bridges among citizens and continues to be the voice of the voiceless in those areas.
KirkukNow is a news website which publishes stories and covers events happening within the “disputed territories”. The aim of this project is to provide access to fact-based and unbiased information in all the languages spoken in northern Iraq, namely, Arabic, Kurdish and Turkmen. In doing so, we hope to keep citizens engaged in a constructive dialogue which will lead to mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence among them. KirkukNow’s website functions as a platform for the citizens of Kirkuk, Nineveh, Diyala and Salahaddin to share their concerns with local officials and hold them accountable.
Iraq’s “disputed territories” are areas defined by article 140 of the country’s constitution and their future has yet to be decided between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Kirkuk province and parts of Nineveh, Diyala and Salahaddin are considered as “disputed territories”.
In April 2011, www.kirkuknow.com was launched as the only online independent media outlet that covered developments throughout Kirkuk province, as well as developments relevant to Kirkuk in the three main languages of the province – Arabic, Kurdish and Turkmen – as well as in English. The territories KirkukNow covers are home to Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Sunnis, Shias, Christians, Ezidis, Shabak and other groups.
Among others, KirkukNow covers topics such as:
– Developments of the war against the Islamic State (ISIS), http://kirkuknow.com/english/?p=20604
– Women issues: http://kirkuknow.com/english/?p=20546
-Peaceful coexistence among different groups of the “disputed territories”: http://kirkuknow.com/english/?p=20708
– Plights of refugees and IDPs: http://kirkuknow.com/english/?p=20777
– Post ISIS developments: http://kirkuknow.com/english/?p=20783
– Education and others: http://kirkuknow.com/english/?p=20586
Besides the website, KirkukNow publishes its content on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The topics which are posted include the daily life of citizens, the situation of refugees and IDPs, women’s issues and the life of minorities in those areas. KirkukNow’s social media platforms targets young internet users from different backgrounds.
To realise the vision of KirkukNow, the website has recently created a long-term strategy to utilize digital media as a tool to promote peace. Free Press Unlimited supported KirkukNow journalists in completely renewing and reformatting this ground- breaking platform in 2017. As a result, we have now decided to expand the coverage of the website to include all the “disputed areas”. We do believe that peace is possible and our professional journalistic values can contribute into strengthening the spirit of solidarity, social harmony, mutual tolerance and achieving a durable solution for peace in those areas.
As the website has expanded into more areas in northern Iraq, it is committed to providing information and publishing diverse points of view and opinions for citizens of the “disputed territories” in a way that promotes mutual understanding. As an internet news source, KirkukNow is able to reach citizens from various marginalized groups; particularly refugees, as well as IDPs.
Meanwhile, KirkukNow focuses on issues regarding women and youths to reach beyond the ordinary scope of the media, in order to be a relevant platform of information for citizens; to broaden their perspectives and raise awareness of human rights.
To help build up the media as a tool for social cohesion and citizenship, KirkukNow has recruited staff and freelancers from all different ethnic and religious backgrounds; with the aim that KirkukNow will eventually contribute to bringing about solutions which turn the so-called “disputed areas” into consensus territories.