Ringing the Bell for Democracy

The Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq has selected British PR firm Bell Pottinger Communications to promote the establishment of democracy, according to PR trade publication the Holmes Report. The large-scale $5.8 million PR campaign will precede the transition of government to Iraqis in June. The firm is headed by Lord Bell, a Conservative who masterminded Margaret Thatcher's rise to power in 1979. Lord Bell told the UK's Independent that the message would be that democracy was "the route to peace and prosperity," adding, "There's no Arab word for democracy. That's one of the difficulties. If you say, 'Isn't democracy wonderful?' and they don't have a word for it, then it is not surprising that they do not have the same view." The campaign will use TV, print, outdoor posters, leaflets and town hall meetings to get its message out. The Dubai-based advertising agency Bates PanGulf and the media services company Balloch & Roe, which already has offices in Baghdad, will also be working on the account.