Tony Blair to debate the war on Iraq on MTV

LONDON – In a major coup for MTV, the Prime Minister Tony Blair is to debate the US and UK's tough stance on Iraq in a global youth debate, which will be broadcast to more than 300m worldwide.

The event, called 'An MTV Forum with Tony Blair: Is War the Answer?', will be broadcast in the UK and Europe, as well as on MTV channels in the Middle East, Australia, Asia, Latin America and the US to a total of 300m homes worldwide.

The event will air on MTV UK & Ireland on Friday, March 7 at 9pm, just days or weeks before a possible US-led attack on Iraq is launched.

News of the debate follows moves by the US, Britain and Spain yesterday, which tabled a 13-paragraph "war resolution" to the United Nations as France, Germany and Russia pushed for Saddam Hussein to be given months more to disarm.

The MTV debate will be the Prime Minister's first pan-European youth forum. It will last 60 minutes and take the form of a question and answer session with 40 young people from across the UK, Europe, the US and the Middle East, who be able to closely question about the issues surrounding a war in Iraq.

The forum audience will consist of British, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Swedish, Iraqi, Palestinian and American young people and will represent a balanced cross section of MTV's 16-24 demographic, offering diverse viewpoints on current events. MTV Base presenter Trevor Nelson will host the forum.

Michiel Bakker, managing director MTV Networks UK & Ireland, said: "We believe it's crucial that the debate on war with Iraq is not one conducted by men in suits, and that young people have a meaningful dialogue with those in power. I'm delighted that we're able to give young people from Britain and elsewhere the opportunity to put their questions to the Prime Minister in an open forum and to hear his responses to their concerns."

MTV was keen to stress that the programme was not a platform for any political message. Instead, MTV Europe president and chief executive Brent Hansen said MTV wanted to offer "an open and unscripted dialogue between Mr Blair and young people in Europe."

"MTV's European audience are particularly attuned to the issue of war and the programme will offer a lively debate with a truly pan-European perspective," he said.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.

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