News Media Landscape in a Fragile State: Professional Ethics Perceptions in a Post-Ba'athist Iraq

Jeannine E. Relly, Margaret Zanger, Shahira Fahmy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


During the years of Ba'athist dictator Saddam Hussein, media personnel were under tight control and tortured or executed when they strayed from the government line. In the decade following the fall of the Ba'athist regime, thousands of Iraqi journalists were trained in liberal democratic professional norms, and hundreds of news outlets opened even as some of the old patronage practices and violence continued. This study utilized Shoemaker and Reese's hierarchy of influences model to examine factors influencing a proxy indicator for professional ethics, the value of conflict of interest avoidance among a purposive sample of Iraqi journalists (N = 588). We found that the news media routines and ideological levels, though not strong, had the greatest influences on this conflict of interest avoidance perception criterion indicator, the proxy for professional ethics. The findings suggest a tension between liberal democratic journalism training at the routines level and ideological aspects, in some cases, such as ethnic identity and political ideology. Strong influences on perceptions of conflict of interest avoidance were the type of media platform/Western journalism training, Arab ethnicity over Kurdish ethnicity, ideology of “democrat” over Kurdish nationalist or Islamist. No influence was apparent for Internet use frequency or state versus nonstate media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-497
Number of pages27
JournalMass Communication and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 4 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


Dive into the research topics of 'News Media Landscape in a Fragile State: Professional Ethics Perceptions in a Post-Ba'athist Iraq'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this