ISLAMABAD: Britain and the US are setting up a media centre in
Pakistan in a bid to counter Taliban propaganda and anti-US
The 'war room' will be launched in Islamabad to supplement operations in
London and Washington.
It is hoped the three will offer a round-the-clock service,
accommodating broadcast deadlines around the world.
The time zone difference - Pakistan is three-and-a-half hours ahead of
London and eight-and-a-half hours ahead of Washington - often ensures
the Taliban's accounts of overnight bombings dominate each day's
US administration officials believe the combination of what they claim
are false reports by the Taliban and photographs showing slaughtered
Afghan civilians are fuelling anti-US feelings.
With the introduction of the war rooms, both the US and the UK hope they
can counter those reports - day and night - before they reach the
The Bush administration is also hoping to improve co-ordination between
its various message chiefs spread throughout Washington.
Each morning, the three centres will conduct a conference call involving
Downing Street communications director Alastair Campbell, who heads the
Whitehall-based London centre, and his US counterparts, Bush advisers
Karen Hughes and Karl Rove, alongside a number of US government PR
Plans are also in place to allow UK and US press officers to swap places
and improve the flow of information.
The US State Department is reportedly starting its own PR initiative
next week. Using the internet, it will translate and distribute
statements of support from Muslim leaders to US embassies around the
world and then distribute them to local reporters.