Harris Corp. gets Pentagon contract to rebuild Iraqi media

Monday, January 12, 2004< /FONT>

WASHINGTON The United States has approved a plan to rebuild Iraq's media network.

The Bush administration has authorized a project called the Iraqi Media Network. The project would modernize the infrastructure for both broadcast and print media in Iraq.

The Defense Department has awarded Harris Corp. a $95.5 million for the media project in Iraq. Under the project, the Melbourne, Fla.-based company would rebuild and operate Iraq's television, radio and newspaper network. The projects would include the establishment of a 24-hour news and information channel as well as a network of modern daily newspapers that would stress a post-Saddam Iraqi democracy. Harris would also manage the newspaper sponsored by the former regime of Saddam Hussein.

In 2003, the Iraqi network was operated by Science Applications International Corp., a U.S. defense contractor, Middle East Newsline reported.

A Pentagon statement said the work will be performed in Iraq and is expected to be completed by January 2005. The statement said contract funds will not expire at the end of fiscal 2004.

Officials said several bids were solicited via the web in October. Five bids were received for the competition.

The Defense Contract Command, based in Washington, has been authorized to oversee the contract. Officials said Harris will work with companies from Iraq, Kuwait and Lebanon to create the media outlets. They include the Beirut-based Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. and Kuwait's Al Fawares. Al Fawares prints the U.S. magazine Newsweek in Arabic.

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