Let the questioning begin

Step aside Manchester, London or Norwich, BBC’s popular current affairs road show, Question Time, is about to hit Abu Dhabi.

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By  John Irish Published  April 7, 2003

As Arabs increasingly look on at events in Iraq with a mixture of apprehension and frustration, the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme is staging a one-off edition in Abu Dhabi on April 24.

The hour-long show involves a studio audience debating and putting questions to a panel on the latest socio-political and economic issues.

By broadcasting from the UAE’s capital, the BBC are hoping to offer a platform for Arabs to discuss the prevailing issues in the Gulf and Middle East through a major Western broadcaster. The BBC will televise the show in the UK as well as on its main satellite news channel, BBC World.

“The edition from Abu Dhabi will discuss the consequences of War in Iraq, its effect on the region, and on how and whether relations between America, Britain and Middle Eastern countries have been affected,” said Nick Pisani, Question Time editor.

Since the outbreak of war in Iraq, the US and British media has come under criticism from Arabs throughout the Middle East, with many tuning into the plethora of Arab satellite news networks such as Al Jazeera, Abu Dhabi television and Al Arabiyyah.

“The programme will provide a unique opportunity for people from all backgrounds living in the United Arab Emirates, to air their views and have their say on the biggest issue facing the world today,” said Pisani.

At present, the BBC has not yet announced the line-up, but the panel is expected to include a high-ranking official within British Prime Minister, Tony Blair’s cabinet as well as a variety of experts on the Middle East.

Question Time is one of the BBC’s longest running programmes and has managed to attract almost every major politician to its floor over the last 20 years.

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