American Forces Press Service
Dec. 19, 2008 - A monumental achievement has been accomplished in the highly populated Baghdad district of Sadr City. This time, it isn't a record number of barriers put in place or another insurgent captured, it is the publication of the first local Sadr City newspaper, the Al Medina. The Al Medina is a locally produced and locally owned newspaper that focuses on news affecting the people of Sadr City.
"It is a source to express their ideas, report their activities, and cover all the projects in the area," said Muhammad Al-Tamimi, general manger of the newspaper.
The paper was conceived more than five months ago when U.S. Army Maj. Mike Humphreys, a public affairs officer with the 4th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, had a chance encounter with Al-Tamimi, a journalist, and a Sadr City businessman, Dhahir Al-Musa. Humphreys expressed his vision to create an independent Sadr City newspaper that could get the people's message out. In cooperation with Provincial Reconstruction Team 3, Humphreys offered $25,000 in what is known as "quick reaction" funds to help the two entrepreneurs start their paper.
"I knew we needed a paper in Sadr City," Humphreys said. "I believe that one key to success in Iraq is a free and independent press that educates and informs the people while holding government officials accountable."
Al-Musa, who owns the newspaper, and Al-Tamimi graciously accepted Humphreys' offer and already have begun putting that money to good use. The Al-Medina newspaper has produced six issues at 10,000 copies each that have been distributed throughout the Sadr City district.
"The people of Sadr City have suffered," Al-Tamimi said. "This paper can be their voice so the government does not forget them."
(From a Multinational Division Baghdad news release.)