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Iraqi gov’t to launch two news agencies

Orgs will cover hard news, economic reporting

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi government is to launch two official news agencies to fill a gap caused by the closure of the Iraqi News Agency after Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003, a government official announced on Monday.

One agency will cover hard news and the other economic and financial reporting, said Al Hadi Mohammed, head of a newly-established national media center in Baghdad.

“The media in government is quite disorganized,” Mohammed told reporters, explaining the need for the agencies. “It is as confused as the general state affairs in Iraq.”

He added: “We will launch an official news agency so we can use it as a source of information. We also believe that with the security situation improving, the economic recovery of the country will speed up, which is why we need a second news agency focused on economic news.”

The ministry of information, which used to provide news during Saddam’s dictatorial rule, was disbanded after the U.S.-led invasion of March 2003 and the Iraqi News Agency, which was regarded as the propaganda arm of the former regime, shut down.

This had created vacuum in government media, he added.

Under-utilized personnel in government press offices across Iraq’s provinces would be roped in for the new ventures, which were expected to be up and running “in three to six months.”

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