US fights regional anti-Americanism with new satellite TV channel
In a bid to offset the spread of anti-American messages by pan-Arab media outlets, the US government will begin broadcasting the Al-Hurra satellite television network to the Middle East in the coming weeks, according to Washington File.
Al-Hurra will broadcast its 24-hour-a-day Arabic language news and information service over the Arabsat and Nilesat with what the network's creators hope will set a new standard for satellite news in the region.
Hostility towards the United States has reached "shocking levels” among Muslim populations, according to a recent report by the US Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World. The panel called for more money to be spent on advocating US policies.
"Many critics of the station maintain that the network will have a difficult time establishing independent credibility as it is being established with $32 million in funding from the US Congress and is expected to receive an additional $30 million in congressional appropriations for its first year of operation.
According to a fact sheet released by the US government’s Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Al-Hurra's parent company, the station will feature news and information on a variety of subjects including health, personal fitness, entertainment, sports, fashion and science and technology. Programming will include talk shows, current affairs magazines and roundtables.
The base for the station's production and broadcasting will be in the United States, but the network will have bureaus in Dubai, Amman and Baghdad. In addition, it will use stringers and correspondents from all over the Middle East, Europe and the United States.
The US Advisory Group revealed that the US State Department spent approximately $600 million last year on programs promoting American policies in the Middle East and an additional $540 million on Voice of America and other broadcasts. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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