"It really is a good opportunity for us, but the quality of the papers coming out is terrible. It has become about quantity, and where will this take us?" he said.

The coalition's effort to regulate the Iraqi media has largely focused on "de-Baathification," ousting any members or participants of the old regime. The Ministry of Information has been bombed and dissolved as 1,300 employees, including journalists, wait jobless. The coalition paid them $20 in the last three months. The former employees have organized against the coalition and have held demonstrations and talks to negotiate their jobs back.

Batool Ahmed Shekarchi was a designer for television programs. She comes weekly to the building across the street from the bombed ministry with other employees waiting for her salary and news about her job.

Under Hussein, Iraq had five newspapers. Now it has around 150.
Under Hussein, Iraq had five newspapers. Now it has around 150.

"I was so disappointed because I thought this would be a new beginning' but I realized this is the end," she said, smiling. "We're innocent. Saddam Hussein's regime insulted us."

The Iraqi Media Network, which is a temporary replacement for the ministry, employs about 320 people, but few are from the old guard. Ahmed al-Rikabi, head of the network, said the old employees aren't trusted because many were government informants.

"A number of those people were employed because they were the cousin of someone in Tikrit [Saddam's birthplace] or Baathies," al-Rikabi said. "We have clear political decision regarding the de-Baathification of this country."

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