WASHINGTON: The State Department furthered its efforts to gain a foothold in the world of Arab media last month with the release of two new RFPs.
The first is a call for an agency that can develop and implement an internet campaign to drive young, educated Arabs to US government websites. The hope is to gain greater overseas under- standing for the US' rationale for its Mideast foreign policy.
Released August 20, the RFP loosely outlines a two-month campaign that may employ such unconventional diplomatic tools as pop-up windows and banner ads. Arabic-language sites maintained by Al Jazeera, CNN, the BBC, and the Microsoft Network are listed as preferred vehicles for the ads.
Another RFP seeks an agency that can monitor and build a searchable database of international broadcast media. The winning firm will monitor a minimum of six foreign news networks several hours a day, translating their broadcasts into English and organizing them for easy retrieval by government workers.
Networks slated for monitoring include Al Jazeera, Saudi Arabia's Al Arabiyah, China's CC-TV-1, Japan's Asahi TV, Germany's NTV, and Pakistan's TV 1. Contract officers could not comment on the long-term purpose of this project.