"Where is the Middle East equivalent to Radio Free Europe?"

Posted: 26 Aug 2011   Print   Send a link
The Commentator, 23 Aug 2011, Robert Halfon MP: "The last [UK] government, some of our universities and businesses, lost their moral compass when it came to dealing with the Libyan regime. Whilst senior new Labour Government figures hob-nobbed with Gadaffi and his family, our academic institutions accepted millions in blood money, whilst companies rushed to Libya to sign commercial deals. ... Liberty is a human right. Sometimes it requires military intervention, other times it requires hearts and minds. Rather than appeasement, our foreign policy should be directed at supporting resistance groups to dictators, funding radio, TV stations, and the internet, in the same way the CIA did in the Cold War to undermine Communism. Where is the Middle East equivalent to Radio Free Europe?"

If one is thinking of the latter, post-1956 Radio Free Europe, it concentrated on providing the credible news that was lacking in the state controlled media of its target countries. In that case, there are several Middle East equivalents of RFE, including Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, Alhurra, BBC Arabic, and France 24 Arabic.

But Mr. Halfon writes about "supporting resistance groups." That's less of a journalistic and more of an activist enterprise. US and UK funding for such media outlets should be done quietly and at arm's length, with the resistance group handling the actual content and operations. And it should be realized that most of the target audience will tune instead to the station that provides real news.