BBC mounts most ambitious broadcasting operations in its history

MUMBAI: As the US-led invasion steps into full throttle, BBC World has abandoned its regular programming schedule and is providing extensive rolling news coverage of the situation in Iraq.

Terrestrial broadcasters from around the world are simultaneously broadcasting BBC World's breaking news as it happens, a company release states.

BBC World is being co-presented live from around the world by Nik Gowing in Doha, Qatar; Lyse Doucet in Amman, Jordan; Jon Sopel in Kuwait; Annita McVeigh and Mishal Husain in Washington and the BBC World team in London.

In addition, BBC News has put extra teams of reporters and crews in more than 30 key locations. BBC personnel are also based in Iran, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain and Turkey, with a journalistic presence on carriers such as Ark Royal.

Overall, the BBC is mounting one of the most ambitious broadcasting operations in its history to cover the invasion of Iraq, the release says.

The BBC News deployment to the region is in excess of 200 staff, including producers and camera people. All staff have attended a week-long hostile environment course and correspondents are carrying personal body armour and CBR (chemical, biological and radiation) suits in their kit bags.

TV viewers had a look at some of that when following the first US-UK strikes on Iraq, a scud missile attack on the border with Kuwait was reported. The correspondent from the "frontlines" was seen wearing a gas mask while reporting the news. Just in case the Scuds had chemical weapons material, the viewers were informed.

The question this raises is about those intrepid journos who're sending out news from the real frontlines i.e. Baghdad itself. It must be like a nightmare from Hell for them.

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