By Scott Flenner
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
BAGHDAD – A monumental achievement was accomplished, Nov. 3, in the highly populated Baghdad district of Sadr City. This time it wasn't a record number of barriers put in place or another special groups criminal captured, instead it was 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 current 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 Mr. Muhammad Al-Tamimi, general manger of the Al Medina newspaper.
The paper was conceived more than five months ago when Maj. Mike Humphreys, public affairs officer with 3rd Brigade Combat team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad had a chance encounter with Muhammad, a journalist, and a Sadr City businessman, Dhahir Al-Musa.
During their initial meeting Humphreys, a native of Greeneville, Tenn., expressed his vision to create an independent Sadr City newspaper that could get the people's message out. In cooperation with the embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team 3, Humphreys offered $25,000 in quick reaction funds to help the two entrepreneurs get their paper started.
"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."
Dhahir, who currently owns the newspaper, and Muhammad graciously accepted Humphreys offer and have already begun putting that money into good use. As of today the Al-Medina newspaper has produced six issues at 10,000 copies each that have been distributed throughout the Sadr City District.
"If god willing the paper will continue to grow" said Muhammad. "The people of Sadr City have suffered. This paper can be their voice so the government does not forget them."
This work, Sadr City has its own newspaper, the Al Medina, by Scott Flenner, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.