Graduate Sets Up Iraqi Paper

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An Oxford chemistry graduate planning to launch the first English language newspaper in Iraq for more than a decade. The Baghdad Bulletin, the brainchild of Ralph Hassall, 23, is due to be published next month, with around 5000 copies printed, and plans for an online version to attract international readers are well underway. A number of key academics, journalists, and politicians, Arab and Western alike, have been approached to contribute. Ralph intends the Bulletin to act as a forum for Iraqis to discuss the future their country. “I want to get Iraqis talking about what should happen the country now the war is over: what should the billions of dollars promised in aid be spent on? Who should spend it and how?” he said speaking from Jordan. Not everyone may be so convinced of the validity of such an enterprise. James Lazou, a Wadham student who played a prominent role in the Oxford Students Stop the War Group, expressed his concern about the project to Cherwell. “I find the concept of an English language newspaper being the forum for Iraqis to debate their future, very worrying, and a reflection of wider colonialist attitudes to the country.” Mr Hassall, who admits to being “a patriot,” has embarked on a potentially very lucrative path. As former City media analyst Celia Leaberry explained, if the future of Iraq is secured, a national newspaper will very likely bid to take over the Bulletin. If, however, violence should break out again in Iraq, the fate of the paper looks less certain.
ARCHIVE: 4th week TT 2003

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