April 14, 2004

Very cool project in Iraq

A group of US Marines are doing a very cool kind of rebuilding in Iraq and the Spirit of America website is doing some fundraising. The problem is that the major news outlet over there -- Al Jazeera -- is very heavily biased against the coalition forces and is spreading a very distorted view of military operations there. What the US Marines are trying to do is to build seven television stations to carry an alternative view. From the website: bq. Current TV news in Iraq often carries negative, highly-biased accounts of the U.S. presence. Unanswered, its effect is to stoke resentment and encourage conflict. The Marines seek to ensure the Iraqi people have access to better, more balanced information. By equipping local television stations and providing the ability to generate news and programming, the Marines will create a viable news alternative - one owned and operated by local Iraqi citizens. bq. The donated equipment will be the property of the Iraqi stations. The stations can create their own news and choose their own programming with the agreement that they will prohibit airing of anti-coalition messages that incite the local population. The stations also agree to sell airtime at a fair market price so that the Marines can communicate their information efficiently and quickly when needed. bq. For example, images were recently broadcast of a mosque in Fallujah damaged during fighting. With these stations the Marines could have provided the full picture by airing video of combatants firing on them from the mosque grounds. These stations would have enabled Iraqis to understand the complete picture. News of reconstruction projects and humanitarian assistance that balances the news of conflict will also be provided on these stations. The stations will be free to criticize the Coalition. The key points here are that the TV stations will be owned by Iraqi citizens and if the US Marines or any other coalition force wants time on these stations, they have to stand in line with money to buy the time just like everyone else. These are not PR organs of the West as Al Jazeera is of the Middle-East. Here are some pictures that explain what is happening: aljazeera.jpg Posted by DaveH at April 14, 2004 10:25 AM