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'Erasing terrorist ideology': Iraqis fill the Mosul airwaves after IS radio silence Open in fullscreen

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'Erasing terrorist ideology': Iraqis fill the Mosul airwaves after IS radio silence

Radio presenter Nour Tai broadcasts her weekly programme on One FM [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 June, 2018

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Society: Young Iraqis are filling the city's airwaves, after the Islamic State group's radio ban in Mosul.

During the Islamic State group's rule in Mosul, radio stations were banned and replaced with broadcasts of extremist propaganda. Today, young Iraqis are filling the city's airwaves.

One budding presenter is Nour Tai, who at 16 years old faces the microphone with a confident tone and a professional style.

She hosts a weekly programme on One FM, a Mosul station launched in February that broadcasts a mix of music, entertainment and current affairs debates.

Her career began a year ago thanks to a talent show organised by Al-Ghad, a station in the Kurdish city of Erbil which hosted many of those displaced from Iraq's second city.

She told AFP at the time that she was passionate about radio because "it touches everyone".

"I want to be part of it," she said.

She now sits in the One FM studio, accompanied by her father, as a degenerative illness left her blind three years ago.

She says her aim is to "give people hope, especially those who suffer from a handicap."

"I want to tell everyone that we can all contribute something and that we can realise our dreams," she says from the cramped studio.

I want to tell everyone that we can all contribute something and that we can realise our dreams

Erasing 'terrorist ideology' 

The launch of One FM came six months after Iraqi forces declared victory over IS following three years of brutal rule in Iraq's second city.

IS had shut down independent radio stations and anyone caught tuning in could expect severe physical punishment.

The emergence of stations such as One FM is a step in the city's transformation since IS was ousted following a vast, months-long operation.

Young presenters are busy 24 hours a day, producing and broadcasting shows which are also filmed for broadcast on the radio's website and social media accounts.

The channel is run by volunteers who bought the necessary equipment by pooling their savings, some selling their own belongings to fund the station.

Radio presenter Ahmad al-Jaffal broadcasts his programme on One FM [Getty]

Yassir al-Qaissi, One FM's head of communications, says their aim is to "denounce violence and extremism, and broaden people's minds."

There is a need to "erase the terrorist ideology and end the sickness of our society, such as sectarianism and racism," the 28-year-old says.

There is a need to erase the terrorist ideology and end the sickness of our society, such as sectarianism and racism

Ahmad al-Jaffal, 30, says the occupation "created a vacuum of thought".

"With my programme, I try to promote ideas of coexistence, of mutual understanding, and of acceptance of the other," says Jaffal, who worked as a journalist prior to the IS takeover in 2014.

On the streets of Mosul, the radio shows bring a distraction from the struggles of life in the war-scarred city.

Taxi driver Mohammad Qassem, 27, says the music and entertainment shows are a welcome addition to his long days.

"We can finally listen to all the songs that IS deprived us of for three years," he says happily, before pushing the volume up to maximum on his car radio.

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