1995-1997, Translator, (Freelance) Iraqi National Television, Baghdad, Iraq.

  • Translating tens of films and documentaries.


Below is an excerpt from the introduction I wrote for my book Media Practice in Iraq (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). I referred to my experience working at the Iraqi national television in late 1990s when I was still a BA student.


“When I worked as a freelance translator for the Iraqi TV channel back in 1997, there was a great deal of attention given to the media during the Baath rule. The military tank never left its position in front of the TV station’s main gate and the small road leading to it was always blocked. Every Iraqi driver knew it was forbidden to approach this road. The kind of security checks that everyone must overgo to enter the main building were thorough. It looked like a place for the privileged though its employees got very low salaries that could not sustain them for a whole month mainly due to the economic sanctions. It was a rather surreal place where rumours spread about Uday Saddam’s torture chamber in his Al-Shabab TV station. It was believed that it contained different torture tools to be used against anyone who intentionally or not made a mistake. Other confirmed reports were about employees whose job was to censor television ‘suspicious’ material least anything obscene like showing a half-naked woman or political like having anti-revolutionary messages was shown. For example, a colleague who translated George Orwell’s film 1984 was shocked when he knew that the authorities refused to air the film because Iraq’s political system bore some similarities to Orwell’s imaginary authoritarian regime especially in the way Iraqi security forces used to monitor the activities of people. If any prohibited scenes were aired, the responsible employee would have his hair shaved and sent to a remote prison as a punishment. In the end, employees were in constant fear which killed a great amount of their creativity. Added to that was the old and ill-maintained equipments used. One Iraqi technician told me back in 1998 that it was a miracle that the Iraqi TV was still broadcasting and airing programmes since most of the equipments that were made back in the 1970s should be sent to the museum of science and technology”.


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