Iraq | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Revolutionary Command Council decrees and the penal code do not allow anything to be published that is not in strict accordance to the views of the ruling Ba'ath Party and its leader, President Saddam Hussein. Punishments for criticizing the regime include tongue amputations and the death penalty. The government exercises complete control over all domestic print and broadcast media, except in the Kurdish region in the north, where many independent newspapers have appeared over the past decade. Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Uday, manages about a dozen newspapers, including the most influential daily, Babil, which itself was the subject of a one-month suspension for having run editorials critical of the regime. Uday is also the director of all television and radio stations and is the head of the Journalists Union, to which all journalists are required to belong. Those foreign journalists allowed to work in Iraq are commonly accompanied by government officials who restrict their movements and their access to the public. Iraqis have limited access to foreign news programs such as those of the BBC, though the government regularly jammed broadcasters' signals. Internet access has become more available in recent years, but is frequently monitored and censored. [This report covers the time period of January to December 2002, and does not reflect changes to the situation in Iraq that have occurred in 2003.]