Iraq: Launch of a nationwide Voter Education Radio Programs

Baghdad, 20 October 2008 - The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) is pleased to announce the launching of a nationwide Election Coverage Network, aimed at supporting the provincial electoral process. The newly launched network will provide Iraqi citizens throughout the country with timely fair and balanced quality information and elections reporting.

The 6-month project includes the production and dissemination of "Voter Education Radio Programs" countrywide, to provide objective information on the provincial elections, including comprehensive information on procedural and technical details of the voting process; in depth analysis of campaign issues; parties' positions and political profiles; political role and authority of governors and provincial councils; their relation to the central government, and elections results and results from election monitoring. These materials will be made available to a network of FM radio stations throughout the country.

The project is the product of a partnership between UNAMI's Public Information and Electoral Assistance Offices, and International NGO "Media in Cooperation and Transition" (MICT) as implementing partner, for the nationwide production, dissemination and exchange of radio reports and features related to the elections in Iraq. Key goals of the project activities are to increase transparency and inclusiveness in the electoral process and to encourage informed debates among citizens in the run-up to and the aftermath of the election.

The nationwide Election Coverage Network project complements other activities being organized by the UN-led International Elections Assistance Team (IEAT) to promote professional, responsible reporting of the elections and to build the capacity of the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to engage effectively and transparently with the media. These activities include a national training programme for IHEC officials and local media on election reporting; support for a campaign for journalism safety; and assistance in drafting regulatory frameworks and policies covering IHEC's media liaison activities.