US-led authority in Iraq hires B-PC for democracy push

LONDON: Iraq's US-led administration has appointed Bell Pottinger Communications (B-PC) to launch a campaign for the establishment of democracy in the war-torn country in a $5.8 million deal.

LONDON: Iraq's US-led administration has appointed Bell Pottinger Communications (B-PC) to launch a campaign for the establishment of democracy in the war-torn country in a $5.8 million deal.

The Coalition Provisional Authority has brought B-PC in to lead a consortium of firms to promote democracy before the handover of power to an interim Iraqi authority on June 30. Its mandate also includes promoting the election of an Iraqi government, which the UN hopes will occur by the end of 2005.

B-PC will work with its Dubai operation, Bates PanGulf, and Baghdad-based media services company Balloch & Roe. A small team will be sent to work with Balloch & Roe's Arabic writers, who will advise on how best to cross the cultural divide.

B-PC chairman Lord Bell said, "There is no Arabic word for democracy - they use the word 'democratier,' which is not Arabic. It is certainly a very big communications challenge. It is not going to be easy but it will be rewarding."

The contract runs provisionally for four months, but Bell said he hoped to manage PR through the progression to a democratic state.

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