US bodies to start TV channels in Baghdad

WASHINGTON: The US government's broadcasting board of governors (BBG) is planning to set up a new Baghdad TV channel to air Arabic captioned broadcasts of US news programmes. This follows the US military's plans to establish its own broadcasting facilities on the ground in Baghdad this weekend. The US military has been broadcasting TV and radio into Iraq from a C-130 plane dubbed Commando Solo.

The move is also a prelude to US government's planned December launch of the Mideast Television Network, an Arabic-language satellite TV operation.


The BBG, a semi-autonomous unit of the US State Department has plans to include broadcasts from the NBC Nightly News ; the ABC Evening News ; the CBS Evening News ; PBS's News Hour; and the Fox News Special Report . Along with American TV newscasts, the new Iraqi channel, which is expected to air five or six hours of nightly programming, will also carry two hours of news from Radio Sawa.

The BBG is seeking help from the US Congress which is expected to approve the initial $3 million needed to jump-start the project as per an adage report which has quoted Westwood One and BBG Middle east committee chairman Norman J. Pattiz.

Aside from overseeing operations of the Voice of America, the BBG also runs Radio Sawa, which beams music and information at youth in Arab countries.

The channel won't contain advertising and will also broadcast complete unedited shows.

On its proposed channel, the US military station will initially carry entertainment shows interspersed with news clips and informational messages about where to get supplies or how to avoid dangerous areas, according to US Central Command spokesman first Lt. Josh Rushing.

Lt. Rushing added that more Iraqis have access to radio There was also a report of plans by the military to start a newspaper for Iraqis.

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