Monday, November 29, 2004

Archeology Project: The Media in Iraq

USA movie-goers saw a lot of archived video clips in the months leading up to the November election. Lots of documentaries. Mostly these clips were drawn from domestic media. A little Al Jazeera came through in Control Room.

What we haven't seen a lot of is Iraqi television under the Bremer and Allawi administrations. I'm told many average Iraqis are fed up with the propaganda they've been seeing. That spikes my curiosity. So where are my DVDs of recent Iraqi TV programming, with English subtitles, rentable through Netflix? We in the USA would like to see what's been going out over the air waves, especially during this time of coalition control over the media.

For example, have Iraqis seen any of the vast anti-war demonstrations on their TVs? Do they even know what Manhatten looked like on the eve of the GOP convention? Have there been any human interest stories about the history of Islam within the United States? Sufism has quite a following. Many African Americans discovered Islam a couple generations ago, through such leaders as Malcolm X. Such stories might be of interest to viewers in Baghdad.

How often does Iraqi television show images of mosques inside the UK or USA?

How the upcoming elections are treated will be of special interest. Do anti-occupation candidates or parties ever get air time? Are political ads allowed, even if they don't originate in the Allawi camp? If not, how democratic is that?

I bet the CIA has a lot of raw footage, recorded off embassy equipment -- all we need is some slick editing (not censorship -- we just need to get the highlights, representative samples) and a distributor like Miramax.

I encourage my fellow bloggers to spread the word that there's likely a niche market for this stuff. We want to see what the Iraqis have been seeing on their TV sets (including commercials). This isn't a FOIA thing -- the material in question has already been publicly broadcast. Maybe an enterprising Iraqi business could lend a hand.

Related post:
Show us the candidates (Sept 23 2004)