The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG) Ján Kubiš and UNESCO Representative to Iraq Axel Plathe are deeply concerned about the safety of journalists in Nineveh Governorate.

The recent assassination of media workers and the increased acts of intimidation, harassment and violence to which they are exposed, dramatically testify to the life threatening risks under which journalists work in the areas controlled by ISIS.

We pay tribute to those who gave their lives in service of the public’s right to information”, stated SRSG Kubis and UNESCO Representative Plathe, “and we condemn in the strongest terms any act of violence committed by ISIS against media workers, which only adds to the long list of abhorrent and intolerable violations of human rights the terrorist group perpetrates”, both also underlined.

It is of the utmost importance to uphold the right of media to report independently, without interference and in safety”, Kubis and Plathe stressed, reminding that ”the life of journalists and media workers must be protected and the perpetrators of all kinds of crimes against them must face justice”.Promoting the safety of journalists and combating impunity for those who attack them are central elements within the UN system’s support for the freedom of expression across all media platforms.”

(Source: UN)

(Journalism image via Shutterstock)

By Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

XXX trumps IS as Iraqi lawmakers focus on eradicating Internet porn

Abdul-Hadi al-Hakim, an Iraqi parliament member with the Citizen Coalition, announced July 28 that more than 150 parliament members’ signatures had been collected to pass a bill calling on the authorities to block pornographic sites on the Internet.

Hakim said that most of the National Iraqi Alliance parliamentarians have signed the draft law, while most representatives of the Sunni National Forces Union and the Kurdistan Alliance refrained from signing.

Hakim justified the bill by stating, “Most problems youths face today are caused by surfing porn sites.” He added that pornographic sites have led to a 200% increase in divorce rates and a 50% decrease in marriage and contributed to the rise of sexual crimes, including rape and sexual harassment.

However, Hakim’s statement is based on mere speculation and not on scientific studies. In the same statement, he also invoked numerous other social problems to justify the bill, including early marriage, high unemployment and poverty rates and violence against women. It is worth mentioning that in 2014, Iraq came in last on a list of statistics issued by Pornhub, the largest pornography website on the Internet, which ranked the average amount of time spent on the site by visitors according to country.

Blocking pornographic sites is ineffective, as circumvention techniques are widely available to the public. For instance, the same Pornhub statistics showed that visitors from Iran and Saudi Arabia spend more time on the site than Iraqis, even though these states’ religious regimes ban pornographic websites. Visitors in Iran registered an average of 7 minutes and 46 seconds per visit, while those in Saudi Arabia registered 8 minutes 23 seconds.

The announcement of the bill stirred controversy in Iraq. Some Iraqis welcomed the proposal and created a Facebook page to support the bill, while others believe it is an attempt to impose religious laws on the country and a preliminary step to gradually bring religious rule to Iraq, especially considering the bill was submitted at the initiative of Islamist members of parliament and justified from religious perspectives.

According to civil activists, this bill is not a priority in the midst of the current deteriorating security and political situation in Iraq. TV presenter Ali Wajih posted on Facebook on July 28, “Did our problems in Iraq end, and the only remaining one is porn sites? Isn’t our tragic situation in Iraq much worse than pornographic movies?”

MEOSAT has announced that its O3b system is live and operational, delivering uninterrupted network service to Southern Iraq. Oilfields enabled by digital technologies provide the highest ROI and have the greatest potential to reduce risk, optimize production and contribute to higher operational efficiency for Oil & Gas operators.

This is made ever more relevant and urgent with the recent fall in oil prices. MEOSAT is a key network infrastructure provider, bridging the digital technologies, from remote oil and gas fields in Southern Iraq to anywhere in the world where required.

MEOSAT’s end-to-end network solution is delivering uninterrupted network service anywhere from Southern Iraq. This next generation technology solution combines the advanced fiber-speed of the O3b satellite backbone with Redline Communications‘ proven Virtual Fiber™ point-to-point and point-to-multipoint industrial wireless backhaul systems.

Low latency connectivity is a critical enabler for energy operators, ensuring performance sensitive applications such as ERP (Citrix, Oracle, SAP) and real time monitoring and control will operate flawlessly over the O3b network just as they do over a fiber network.

MEOSAT’s powerful architecture stands ahead of alternative solutions, delivering:

  • The highest data speeds of both downlink and uplink connectivity
  • The lowest latency in end-to-end transmission – one quarter the latency of geostationary satellites
  • Absolute reliability and security that is proven in harsh and hazardous environments
  • Flexible consumption models that best suit the customer capex/opex needs

Michael A. Iwanow, MEOSAT’s CEO says:

“For the first time in history in Iraq, Internet with 140ms steady round-trip latency can be experienced live, with no downtime. The result for operators is, significantly enhanced operational efficiency, cost savings, enablement of cloud sensitive applications and a seamless user experience”

Robert Williams, Redline CEO, added:

“A high performance wide-area network is key to improving efficiency and productivity in oil field operations and Redline is pleased to deliver the terrestrial portion of the MEOSAT solution. Our Virtual Fiber terrestrial wireless network cost effectively and seamlessly extends the O3b satellite service to virtually any location in southern Iraq.”

MEOSAT is currently giving energy operators the opportunity to test the performance of the service at its Network Operations Centre (NOC) in Basra Industrial Community. Operators who have seen the performance have been impressed, confirming they can easily use their ERP software as well as perform live video conferencing with zero delays.

Operators have the flexibility to buy or lease a full end-to-end communications system covering all facets of their telecommunications operations in Iraq.

For the opportunity to visit and experience the fastest Internet in Iraq, please contact the NOC at +964 781 484 32 76.

(Source: Meosat)

By Shatakshi Singhania.

This is an extract from an article originally published by Nina Iraq, and is reproduced here with permission.

“Moving to the cloud” was a phrase found only in fairy tales just two decades ago.

Today, however, it refers to the use of servers, storage and other tools located in the Internet rather than on local hardware.

And “the cloud” is a larger part of your life than you think – if you have ever used Facebook to store your photos, read an email on Gmail or uploaded a video to Youtube, then you are already a direct user of “the cloud”.

Just as an individual user has lower costs (and effort) by not saving and organising all their emails on their computer’s hard drive or downloading millions of videos to their personal hard drive, businesses too can significantly reduce their costs and improve their efficiency thanks to cloud-based applications.

Please click here to view the full article.

By John Lee.

Washington DC-based lobbying and legal services firm Squire Patton Boggs has reported that it is no longer acting for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

In a statement made pursuant to the US’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), the company also confirmed that it had performed no reportable activity on behalf of the KRG in the six months to the end of June.

The company was engaged by the KRG in 2013, on a retainer of $33,000 per month, to work on the issue of removing the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) from the United States’ list of terrorist organizations.

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s Department of Information Technology has announced the launch of the ‘Sunrise period’ for Kurdistan’s top level domain (TLD) .KRD

The Sunrise Period for .KRD starts on August 5 and will end on October 4. The Sunrise launch of .KRD has been a highly anticipated milestone for KRG Department of Information Technology, DIT, that has spent considerable time preparing for the acquisition and launch of this essential top level domain.

By operating its own TLD, Kurdistan Region achieves multiple objectives such as visibility, innovation, digital economy and offers the worldwide Kurdish community a new online homeland.

We at DIT are fully aware of our responsibilities and committed to protect the internet’s security and stability whilst operating our registry system at the world roots of the internet” said Hiwa Afandi, Head of DIT.

December 2013, after passing and complying with numerous tests and procedures, KRG DIT signed the .KRD registry agreement with ICANN granting it the rights to manage the .KRD TLD within the internationally recognised ICANN framework.

July 2014 .KRD was added to the root zone of the internet and officially delegated, becoming a technical and operational reality on the internet.

The Sunrise Period of domain registration is a special period during which trademark holders (registered in Trademark Clearinghouse, TMCH) may preregister names that are the same or similar to their trademarks in order to avoid cybersquatting. This occurs prior to the general launch of the top-level domain (TLD).

Internet users worldwide will soon see web addresses ending with .krd – the first name space on Internet for Kurdistan affiliated individuals (.krd), businesses (.co.krd), government entities (.gov.krd) and educational institutions (.edu.krd).

For further information about Kurdistan’s top level domain please visit www.dot.krd.

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

It’s All Lies: How Propaganda Wars in Extremist-Controlled Mosul, Iraq, are Being Fought

From the very beginning of its prominence in Iraq, it has been very obvious that the leaders of the extremist group known as the Islamic State are aware of the importance of propaganda and the effect of the media on their activities and followers.

A lot of people in Mosul, the city that the extremist group took over last June, even credit the rout of the city’s security forces back then to a particularly cunning use of propaganda.

As British analyst Charlie Winter writes in a recently published report on the Islamic State, or IS, group’s media strategy, the extremists’ “strategists rightly deem that a good image not only brings symbolic influence, but tangible power too”.

This is true not just outside of Iraq, but inside the country too. And another thing that is certain is this: The traditional Iraqi media is lagging behind the efforts of the Islamic State group.

Since the very first days of its control of the northern city of Mosul, which it managed to take over last June, the IS group set up what may best be described as “media hubs” in busy neighbourhoods in the city. These are small kiosks that show films and other material that the IS group has produced – subjects include battles that the group says it won, public executions and other punishments meted out to locals as well as speeches by the IS group’s leaders and senior members.

The media hubs also broadcast new statements, orders and instructions from the IS group. At the beginning of the month of Ramadan, the IS members opened new media hubs in a number of popular spots around the city.

One example: On a road leading into the neighbourhood known as New Mosul, in the west of the city of over a million, the IS group’s media office have erected a large screen and loudspeakers. In front of the screen there are chairs scattered around.

The Basra Industrial Community (BIC) has welcomed MEOSAT as a new resident company.

Residents of BIC now have access to the fastest, most secure and most stable high-speed satelite internet in southern Iraq.

MEOSAT is the only active authorized distributor of O3B in Iraq and has just completed testing. O3B provides high-speed internet via a system of Low-Earth Orbit satellites.

As BIC continues with its Phase 2 expansion, it has offices and accommodation units for lease and can also provide custom design/build service centre solutions. If you have questions about bringing your company, products and services into Iraq or have questions about accommodation, offices and warehouses in BIC, please contact Andres La Saga alasaga@schwob.com +971 50 115 7940.

(Source: BIC)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Communication and Media Commission (CMC) has scrapped a $100-million fine imposed on mobile phone operator Zain Iraq.

The telecom watchdog had claimed that Zain Iraq sold mobile phone SIM cards without its permission.

Reuters reports that a CMC committee considering the case decided not to impose the fine.

(Source: Reuters)

(Dollars image via Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

Reuters reports that Zain Iraq will list on the Baghdad Stock Exchange (ISX) on 23rd June.

Under the terms of its 15-year licence awarded in 2007, the company, along with Iraq’s two other mobile phone firms, was required to float at least a quarter of its shares on the ISX by August 2011.

To date, only Ooredoo‘s Asiacell has floated.

(Source: Reuters)

(IPO image via Shutterstock)