Focus on Iraq handover

Broadcasters are planning a raft of programmes to mark the transfer of administrative power from the coalition in Iraq on 30 June.

Channel 4 has commissioned ITN for a two-hour special news programme looking at Iraq in the run-up to the handover of sovereignty. Iraq: Counting the Cost will air at 7pm on 28 June.

Presented by Jon Snow, the Channel 4 News special will feature reports from Iraq plus studio analysis of the latest situation, breaking for a special edition of Channel 4 News that will include a series of reports from Iraq beginning this week.

Dorothy Byrne, Channel 4’s head of news and current affairs, who commissioned the programmes, said they would offer an analysis of “the true cost, both humanitarian and financial” of the coalition’s presence in Iraq in approach to the June 30 handover.

The Iraq special is executive produced by Channel 4 News editor Jim Gray and Elizabeth Clough and produced by Nick London.

CNN is running a number of roundtable discussions to be recorded in front of audiences in Dubai, London and Atlanta. The debates will be broadcast on the eve of sovereignty, beginning with the Arab Pulse debate on 21 June.

The European Pulse will be hosted by CNN’s London anchor Richard Quest. It will feature novelist Frederick Forsyth; Sunday Times commentator AA Gill; historian Niall Fergusson; Lili Gruber, the Italian broadcaster who recently resigned from RAI in protest against the influence of Silvio Berlusconi; Josef Joffe, editor of German daily, Die Zeit; Ana Palacio, the former Spanish foreign minister instrumental in the Iraq coalition planning; and Professor Karen Armstrong, who writes on Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

Neither the BBC nor ITV will have special news programmes to mark the changeover, although a BBC spokeswoman said the broadcaster would increase the number of reporters to cover news from Baghdad, Basra and Kurdish Iraq.

By Wale Azeez

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