US military admits planting paid propaganda in Iraqi media

The US military command in Baghdad on Saturday admitted planting paid propaganda in Iraqi media, defending it as an "essential tool to give Iraqis reliable information."

A statement issued by the US military command in Baghdad said the information from the battlefield in Iraq was contested and filled with misinformation and propaganda by the insurgent groups to discredit the Iraqi government and the US troops in a bid to intimidate the Iraqi people.

"Information operation is an essential tool for commanders to ensure the Iraqi population has current, truthful and reliable information," it said.

"As part of our operations, we have offered articles for publication to Iraqi newspapers, and in some cases, articles have been accepted and published as a function of buying advertising and opinion/editorial space, as is customary in Iraq," the statement added.

"The procedures for doing so undergo policy and legal review to ensure compliance with the law and regulations," it said.

"Information operations are powerful and essential to military success," the statement concluded.

On Thursday, the New York Times newspaper reported that the US military was waging a multimillion-dollar campaign to plant paid propaganda in the Iraqi media for political gains.

The military also paid "friendly" Iraqi journalists monthly stipends, according to the report.

The White House expressed its concern about these reports, saying it would seek more information from the military.

Source: Xinhua

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