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Iraq: Children’s Television

Prominent guests attended the conclusion of the children’s TV project in Iraq. Hero Talabani, wife of the former president, presented the participants’ certificates – and was enthusiastic about the new magazine format.

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A press conference and presentation of the new, children’s television format concluded the extensive DW-AKADEMIE project in the Iraqi city of Suleymaniyah. Among those attending were Dr. Oliver Schnakenberg, the German consul general, Judith Mirschberger, representative of the Goethe-Institut, and Hero Talabani, wife of the former president. “There’s never been a magazine program of this kind before in Iraq’s Kurdish region. I hope very much it will be shown regularly,” she said following the presentation of the first two shows of the new children’s information magazine, “Look!”

Dani Leese hopes so, too. She’s the DW-AKADEMIE trainer who headed all three modules of the project, which was carried out in close cooperation with the Goethe-Institut in Iraq. She traveled to Jordan at the end of 2009 to launch the project, then to Iraq in February to continue. This time she was there to supervise the production of the pilot broadcast.

“Between the second and third module, the participants had to film, edit and voice the reports. But they worked so hard that we had enough material for two shows,” she says. During the third module they edited the reports and arranged them in a magazine format. “We also held a casting session to find a host.” They chose an 11 year old girl who had been a child reporter in one of the earlier pieces.

Dani Leese is pleased with the project. “Our Iraqi colleagues now approach their work differently. They really absorbed the suggestions and tips that were part of the training course.” And the programs are good. “We hope in future that the TV stations will have enough money to regularly produce the programs on a long-term basis,” says Leese. They plan to air the first one this summer.

There is currently no comparable TV magazine for children and young people in Iraq. But the need is great. More than 40 percent of the Iraqi population is under 15 years of age.