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U.S. funded Iraqi TV criticized

Aug. 29, 2004 at 12:12 PM

BAGHDAD, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., says Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi believes the U.S.-funded satellite TV station Alhurra is "a waste of money."

"We've done a really poor job on the diplomatic front, and if this latest effort is also a bust, we need to know about it and we need to retool," Schiff told the Los Angeles Daily News after returning from Baghdad and meeting with Iraqi officials and U.S. military. "At least in the view of the new prime minister, it's still missing the mark."

Alhurra, Arabic for "the free one," is a $62 million U.S.-funded 24-hour television news station designed as an alternative to Al-Jazeera and other Arabic stations.

Norman Pattiz, chairman of Westwood One radio in Los Angeles, told the L.A. News Allawi's comments conflict with independent surveys.

In one such survey, conducted by Oxford Research International, 61 percent of Iraqi adults said they watch Alhurra each week and 64 percent of the TV viewers find the news "very" or "somewhat" reliable.

"Those are numbers that we did not expect to reach this early at all," Pattiz said of the survey. "I'm surprised Prime Minister Allawi said that."

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