Since 2003–the fall of one of the most tyrannical regimes in human history–Iraqi citizens have been eager for open and free communication with one another, and the world. Although it has been over 10 years since Saddam’s removal of power, Iraqi citizens remain suspicious of media owned and operated by various political parties with obvious political agendas. Iraqi citizens are hungry for open, free and transparent communication. Enter the internet.
One Baghdad Iraqi citizen, interviewed by IRFAD, said, “I still do not trust the TV stations for my news. I do not trust the newspapers. But I trust Facebook. I trust my friends to tell me what is really happening on the ground.”
It is the increased use of mobile phones (the telecommunications sector), however, that has greatly increased true access to the free marketplace of ideas: Only 8% of Iraqi-s reported as having internet in their home, while 80% reported owning a mobile phone (BBC News).
Iraq Internet Use in Numbers
According to Internet World Stats, in December of 2000, there were only 12,500 reported Iraqi internet users. In December of 2012 that number had skyrocketed to 2, 211,860. However, the number of Facebook users proved greater than the number of regular internet users reported in December 2012: a staggering 2,555,140.
The Iraqi people are hungry for communication, and they access it best through the internet’s social media. The free marketplace of ideas has officially opened for business with the onset of the internet, and Iraq is eager to take advantage of it.
*February 17th, 2013 – Article Edited to remove a figure of FttX networks (broadband) in Iraqi households (50%), as this is a projected number and not reflective of present internet penetration.