A New, Free Press Takes Root in Iraq

A newspaper boy hawking the day's headlines on a Baghdad (search) street corner is just one example of the freedom-of-speech explosion that has recently taken place in Iraq.

Post-Saddam Hussein (search), roughly 160 newspapers have sprung up in the country — 60 of them in Baghdad alone.

"The Iraqis are very eager to read and express themselves," said one printer, Slah Hassan. "It's very good for Iraqis to have more than one newspaper to express what they want to say."

During the former dictator's regime, there were only five newspapers — all published by either Saddam's Baath Party (search) or one of his sons and all toeing the official party line.

Iraqis knew the news they had access to was censored and slanted, but no one dared to publicly challenge it.

Though many applaud the newfound freedom of the press, some are concerned that the news is already running amok, with certain publications running baseless, rumor-driven stories that upset citizens.

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