Radio Al Salam 94.3 FM is a local radio station fully dedicated to IDPs, refugees and returnees in the North of Iraq. Its programs are broadcast from Ankawa and Dohuk in the Governorates of Erbil, Dohuk and Nineveh, as well as on its website and via its smartphone application.
Following the Syrian conflict and the 2014 ISIS crisis, a growing number of people fled to Northern Iraq. In July 2017, the United Nations estimated that 245,000 Syrian refugees and 1,860,000 Iraqi Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were living in Kurdistan and in the Nineveh Governorate.
Beyond the urgent humanitarian crisis, the need then arose for a media produced for and by refugees and displaced persons. Founded in March 2015, Radio Al-Salam has become the voice of the displaced people’s sufferings, expectations and hopes. While the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) peaked in March 2016 with approximately 3,420,000 IDPs, the Displaced and Returnee curves intersected in November 2017, shortly after the recapture of Mosul by the Iraqi army and coalition forces.
However, the sectarian wars that have marked Iraq’s recent history have permanently threatened the ability of the different communities to coexist. To date, the political and security context in Syria, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan remains unstable, and a large number of individuals have not been able to return to their homes or areas of origin. In November 2021, Iraqi territory still had more than 1,150,000 internally displaced people, the vast majority of whom are concentrated in the northern governorates of the country, and around 287,000 refugees, mostly Syrians, 99% of whom live in the governorates of Erbil. , Dohuk and Suleimaniye, territories on which Radio Al-Salam broadcasts.
While the international community fears the resurgence of terrorism in Iraq, press freedom is regressing in the country and the link between communities remains strained, Radio Al Salam is maintaining its peace and reconciliation programs and provides access to information on subjects little covered by the local media. The radio aims to be a platform for listening, dialogue and understanding for all those who have gone through the heartbreak of exile, regardless of their religion and ethnic origin. Through their reports and testimonies from the field, the radio’s microphones relay the voices of those who have lost everything and live in the uncertainty of their return. Our studio is also a place of expression for international journalists, humanitarian workers, researchers or diplomats wishing to deliver a message to exiles.
– Syria Regional Response, United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
– Displacement Tracking Matrix, Mission Irak, Organisation Internationale des Migrations.
Thus, Radio Al-Salam tries to create a triple bridge. The first one is between those displaced and the people of Kurdistan who have welcomed them into their cities and towns. The second one is among the various communities of Iraq, aiming to facilitate a mutual understanding and trust. The third one brings international relief action closer to its beneficiaries, in the hopes of making it more understandable.