U.S. Firm to Run Iraqi TV Harris Corp. Also to Operate National Newspaper.
The Pentagon has awarded a $96 million contract to a U.S. communications equipment maker to run Saddam Hussein's old television and radio network, now called al-Iraqiya, for the next 12 months, the chairman of the company said last week.
Harris Corp., based in Melbourne, Fla., will operate the national newspaper formerly run by Hussein's son Uday, in addition to running the broadcast network, said Howard L. Lance, chairman of the company.
When Hussein's government fell in April, the state-run broadcast stations and newspaper were seized. In the months since, they have been run by a U.S. defense contractor, Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC).
Under SAIC direction, the stations have not drawn viewers and listeners because their content was considered too pro-United States.
In addition, there has been turnover in the non-Iraqi management and turmoil within the Iraqi staff, many of whom were holdovers from the previous dispensation. The day before Hussein was captured last month, 30 Iraqi reporters and producers were fired, and al-Iraqiya did not get the news of his arrest on the air for almost 24 hours.
[Source: By Walter Pincus, Washington Post Staff Writer, 12Jan04]
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