|AMMAN (AFP) — The British Council and the BBC's World Service Trust have launched this week in Jordan a seven-week programme to train Iraqi media professionals, the British Council said Tuesday.
Up to 140 Iraqis, most of them technicians, will attend the weekly courses in batches of 20 from Feb. 15 to March 31, with a two-week study tour in the United Kingdom coming later.
"The programme aims to address the most urgent needs of the Iraqi media," the statement said, with classes in picture editing, camera and sound recording skills, broadcasting technology and other methods of working.
More than 20 television and radio stations from across Iraq are taking part.
The first group enrolled in the course under way this week in Amman comprises graduate students from Baghdad University's fine arts, film and television department.
A media boom has swept Iraq since the end of the US-led war that toppled the regime of President Saddam Hussein which controlled the country's newspapers, television stations and radios.
More than 140 newspapers, as well as several radio and television stations have emerged, with the latest arrival of a US-funded Arabic-language satellite television channel.
Al Hurra (the free one in Arabic), was launched Saturday from its base outside Washington.
Egypt's Orascom Telecom, holder of a mobile telephone licence in central Iraq, announced plans in January to launch a $24 million private television network in Iraq dubbed Hawa (wind in Arabic).
Also in January, Iraq's Coalition Provisional Authority awarded a one-year, $96 million contract to international communications equipment company Harris Corp. to develop a media network that would include two radio channels, two national television channels and a national newspaper.