Iraqi Journalists Closely Examine Oil Industry

September 20, 2012
Through a mentorship program, journalists improve reporting skills on complex industry

The oil industry is critical to Iraq’s future, accounting for almost 95% of the government’s revenues. Yet much of the public – and Iraq’s media – don’t have a strong understanding of the complex issues surrounding the international oil industry.

Through a mentorship program organized by Internews, a select group of local journalists now have long-term access to international mentors with strong backgrounds in energy reporting.

A recent field trip to the Rumaila oil field near the border with Kuwait, considered the fourth largest oil field in the world, gave the journalists the opportunity to question British Petroleum (BP) engineers and learn about oil extraction up-close.

“This was my first time speaking to executives at BP and my first time on an oil field. I was able to ask BP about the negative rumors about their company. These rumors included lax safety standards, potential future contract with Kurdistan and massive environmental pollution,” said Dr. Amina Al Dhby, one of the journalism mentees. “The field trip and the accessibility of BP executives helped answer many of my questions.”

Throughout the mentorship, senior journalists will give regular, thorough evaluations of mentee’s oil articles, expose them to topics regarding oil and the energy industry, and help to publish important oil stories.

By strengthening the local Iraqi media, Internews will enable it to serve as better guardians for greater transparency, public information, and accountability.