US-backed Middle East TV channel begins broadcast
Alhurra, a US-funded Arabic-language satellite television network, began broadcasting in the region on February 14, 2004.
Alhurra, an Arabic-language satellite television network, operated by The Middle East Television Network, Inc., a non-profit corporation funded by the US Congress through the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), began broadcasting in the region on February 14, 2004.
Alhurra, which primarily covers news about the region also broadcasts discussion programmes and features on topics such as health and personal fitness, entertainment, sports, fashion, and science and technology. The channel claims to be dedicated to presenting an “accurate, balanced and comprehensive” view of the Middle East.
"Our competitive edge in the Middle East is our very dedication to truth and free and open debate. And we will stand out like a beacon of light in a media market dominated by sensationalism and distortion," commented BBG Kenneth Tomlinson, chairperson.
Norman J. Pattiz, chairperson of the BBG's Middle East Committee who spearheaded the development and launch of Alhurra promised that the network would “present fresh perspectives for viewers in the Middle East that we believe will create more cultural understanding and respect. A key part of our mission is to be an example of a free press in the American tradition. We've assembled a highly professional group of journalists primarily from the region to provide the kind of news and information that will resonate with our viewing audience and enable them to make informed decisions," he commented.
Although the channel currently has a 14-hour schedule, it is slated to move to 24/7 operations within a few weeks. Prime time programming includes two, one-hour in-depth newscasts, a nightly live talk show called "Free Hour," and Arabic translations of documentary and information programming from producers around the world.
Alhurra is being telecast in the region through both Arabsat and Nilesat.