Iraqi Journalists meet with Dean of Grady College

Grady College Hosts Delegation of Iraqi Journalists

Ten journalists from Iraq heard different perspectives on the media from faculty members at the University of Georgia in July as they participate in a program that focused on the role of media in the process of democratization.

Dr. Tudor Vlad told the group "There is no clear evidence that free media foster the process of democratization or that it is the reverse, namely that this process leads to independent media organizations.

"It is clear, however, that a consolidated demoracy cannot exist without free media and, as journalists or journalism educators, we should have this in mind all the time," Dr. Vlad said.

"I've worked with Iraqi journalists and I know some of the challenges you are facing," said David Hazinski, associate professor of telecommunications. "Funding issues, the government's attemt to influence or even control, the shortage of qualified people in the newsroom."

Hazinski said Iraq is not alone in experiencing these issues. "One can see these problems in so many places around the world," he said. "And there are no magic solutions but to keep going."

The visit by the journalists was a component of the International Visitor Leadership Program, a professional exchange initiative of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The program in Georgia was organized by the Georgia Center for International Visitors, and the University of Georgia visit was coordinated by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research.

The Cox International Center is a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Dr. Vlad is associate director of the Cox Center.

During their visit on July 10, Dean Cully Clark welcomed journalists to the college and led a discussion of journalism and mass communication education in the United States.

The journalists then visited the Peabody Suite where Dr. Horace Newcomb, director and professor of telecommunications, discussed the Peabody Awards program and Grady College's role with the prestigious awards program.

Finally, the group heard from Sandi Turner, public information officer in the Athens mayor's office, who explained the relationship between local administration and media organizations.

"My role is not to protect people working in the local government, but to give accurate information to the media and the public," she said. "The worst thing for us would be to lose our credibility."

The visitors were selected by American Foreign Service Officers overseas.

Iraqi Journalists and Dean Cully Clark

They were: Dr. Abdulsalam Ahmed Dakhil Al-Hussein, dean of the Media College, Baghdad University; Falah Hassn Mashal Al-Khafajy, editor in chief, Sabah newspaper; Dr. Hasan K Muhammed Al-Saadi, editor in chief, Ad-Dustoor newspaper; Ms. Amal Hameed Abed Al-Shuwaili, programs editor and host, Al Furat TV; Dr. Nabeel Jasim Mohammed Archabi, director, news and political programming, Al-Sumariya TV; Aso Raheem Ibrahim, news editor, Awene newspaper; Kurda Hassan Jalal, general manager, Radio Nawa; Mohammed Nasser Jasim, news editors, Sumariya TV; Farman A Karim, editorial board, Rozhnama newspaper; and Azeez Ali Raheem Zubaidi, producer/announcer, Iraqiya TV.

Before visiting Athens and Atlanta, the delegation spent time in Washington, D.C., and New York City. After their program in Georgia, the group stopped in San Francisco before returning home to Iraq.