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20 April 2004 – Today Ambassador L. Paul Bremer announced the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer and three Commissioners to the National Communications and Media Commission of Iraq (ICMC) from a list of candidates submitted to him by the Iraqi Governing Council.

“The creation and subsequent responsibilities of this Commission are critical to Iraq’s communications network. It will take a leading role in introducing cutting-edge information technology while promoting fair competition,” stated Ambassador L. Paul Bremer.

The ICMC is the first joint authority in Iraq responsible for regulating all forms of electronic communications, including voice and data telecommunications, radio and television broadcasting and information and internet services. It will also act as an advocate for media freedom and independence, and will work closely with Iraq’s journalists’ associations, international media development organisations and other relevant bodies in advancing professional standards and ethics. Additionally, the Commission will encourage investment in infrastructure and protect intellectual property and personal privacy.

Dr. Siyamend Zaid Othman has been appointed as ICMC’s Chief Executive Officer. He was born in Arbil, obtained his Ph.D. in social sciences in Paris, France in 1984, and worked for six years at Amnesty International as the researcher in charge of the Arabian Peninsular. Dr. Othman later became Vice-President for Strategic Planning at United Press International. Since 1998, he has been working as senior media consultant for various media and IT organisations.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to have won the confidence of all concerned and to have been appointed the first chief executive in charge of managing and developing the nation’s first independent regulatory body. I am confident that this new Iraqi institution will play a crucial and positive role in the reform of media and telecommunications in our country, ensure better services, improve consumer and business confidence, and increase investment, as well as further encourage freedom of expression and develop the media landscape,” said Dr. Othman after learning of his appointment.

The following individuals have been appointed as ICMC Commissioners:
- Dr. Awni Afram Karoumi: Born in Mosul and is Iraq’s leading theatre director and producer. Dr. Karoumi obtained his Ph.D. in aesthetics and art from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany in 1976. In the 1980s, he taught drama at the Academy of Fine Arts at Baghdad University. He is the recipient of numerous international, regional and Iraqi awards and prizes for his work.
- Mahdi al-Rahim: Born in Baghdad, studied Law and obtained his Masters of Art in the same field from the University of Cairo. Mr. al-Rahim became Vice Chairman of the Rafidain Bank and was later elected as the Secretary General of the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce. He founded and headed several companies both in Iraq and abroad and is currently an active participant in the revival of Iraq’s private sector.
- Dr. Amal Shlash: Born in Baghdad, obtained her Ph.D. in Economics in United Kingdom, and is currently a Professor of Economics and Chairperson of the board of Bayt al-Hikma, Iraq’s premier think-tank. Dr. Shlash is also a member of the “Strategic Review Board” set-up to oversee Iraq’s reconstruction efforts. She has written several books and studies on Iraq’s economy.

The Director General and the Commissioners will now proceed with further consultations with the Iraqi Governing Council, members of civil society, and the media and communications professions to nominate the remaining six Commissioners, including the Commission’s Chairperson.

Eventually, the ICMC will propose to the sovereign Iraqi government a new Communications and Broadcasting Law covering professional standards and codes of conduct for media professionals as well as frequency management and licensing for audio-visual media and telecommunications. Once enacted, the Commission shall be responsible for administering and enforcing the new law.

The ICMC will take into account global best practices and the recommendations of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). And, it will also be guided by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights. The Commissioner appointments are pursuant to Order No. 65 issued March 20th that established the Commission as an independent institution to oversee the development of Iraq’s communications and media sectors.


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