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Turkish broadcaster opens office in Syria

IHA, the Turkish-owned broadcast facilities house, has opened a new bureau in Damascus to offer broadcasting clients uplink and production facilities.

IHA, the Turkish-owned broadcast facilities house, has opened a new bureau in Damascus to offer broadcasting clients uplink and production facilities.

"It's not easy to open an office in Damascus but we managed to get permission and are very happy to launch our operation," comments Omer Caglar, deputy general manager of the television news agency.

At one time before the Iraq war, IHA was the only international operation able to get pictures out of Baghdad, following Saddam Hussein's expulsion of most western media. With most operations now back in business there and a plethora of Satellite News Gathering (SNG) units now there on a permanent basis it is important for IHA to seek new opportunities.

The move into Syria follows the same pattern as when IHA set up in Iraq. While western media organisations are offered reporting facilities from time to time, they are not encouraged to set up significant organisations within Syria, and certainly not to bring with them the means to get a story out at the push of any button that is not controlled by the Syrian authorities. At the time of going to press, we were not able to contact Omer Caglar for comment on whether he believed that Syria would turn out to be the next regional trouble spot.

The facilities in Damascus include a SNG truck, SP/SX and DVCpro editing and a live position overlooking the city. IHA has further expansion plans in the Middle East. With bureaux now operational in Iran, Iraq and Syria, Caglar says that similar facilities will be established "soon" in Jordan and Egypt.

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