Iraq Inquiry: BBC training of Iraqi journalists was necessary for fledgling democracy

At yesterday’s hearing of the Iraq Inquiry, current Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Hilary Benn, who previously served as International Development Secretary and as a minister in the Home Office, described how the BBC World Service Trust had been involved in training journalists in Iraq after the fall of Saddam:

(…) [T]he work we did with the BBC World Service Trust training journalists, because that was a whole new world for them, trying to report on what was happening, so people have information to enable the fledgling Iraqi democracy to function.

The training of journalists on the ground and basing that training within Iraq was as important a part of building a democracy as training judges or building new physical infrastructure, suggested Benn.

I suppose some of the training [could have been done outside of Iraq], but the purpose of it was for them to go out – this was Al Mirbad – to go and report, and for people in Iraq to see what was going on, and that involves going out as a reporter and asking questions and producing programmes and broadcasting them, and you have to do that in Iraq.

More on the BBC World Service Trust’s work in Iraq can be found at this link.

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