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Women, Justice and Media in Iraq (WJMI)

This project gives journalists, advocates and justice sector officials the skills they need to improve the lives of Iraqi women.

Domestic violence, inequality, and the threat of trafficking remain serious and frequently underreported issues in Iraq, and women are often unaware of their rights and the resources the government provides.

Through intensive training, curriculum development and targeted media campaigns, this program will strengthen reporting on women's issues and build awareness of relevant government services.

WJMI is funded by the Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) and builds on IREX's ongoing Media and Civil Society for Transparent Governance (MCSTG) program in Iraq.

Goals

• Improve the abilities of journalists to accurately report on women’s services across the justice sector;
• Strengthen the justice sector’s ability to work effectively with media to promote women’s protection; and
• Expand and improve coverage in traditional and new media of women’s rights in Iraq.

Background

Conditions for women in Iraq deteriorated over the last twenty years of conflict and sanctions. Women are largely absent from public life. Few of them are aware of the protections afforded them under Iraqi law. Consquentially, women who are abused, discriminated against, or trafficked feel alone and powerless. 

The media sector, silenced by cultural taboos against open discussion of these issues, rarely provide adequate coverage and do little to inform women of the services available through the Ministries of Justice, Women's Affairs and Labor and Social Affairs.

Project Activities

WJMI will address these issues through the following activities:

• Seminars, study tours, and internships to train a new generation of Iraqi journalists to report on women’s rights;
• Development of a curriculum to teach journalists how to report on violence against women and the training of a cadre of media professionals to teach the curriculum;
• Media relations and communications education for justice sector officials;
• Targeted digital and social media campaigns utilizing both traditional and new media; and
• Fellowships for journalists to report on women’s rights.