Alhurra in the news includes its program about women and its Iraqi editor-in-chief.

Posted: 19 Apr 2010   Print   Send a link
New American Media, 15 Apr 2010, Jalal Ghazi: "If you are a single mother, or a victim of rape or domestic violence, chances are you will not show up on Arab television. Those topics are taboo even for channels like Al-Jazeera Arabic, except for occasional segments. Perhaps these problems pale in comparison to the war in Iraq or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Or perhaps the media shy away from controversial topics that could show Arab society in a bad light. But now some of the remarkable women who are challenging these taboos have found a new forum. Ironically, it is Alhurra (The Free One), the U.S. Congress-financed television channel that is giving these women a chance to tell their stories on the air in an hour-long weekly program called Musawat (Equality). ... Some Arabs are skeptical of Alhurra, saying it airs 'American propaganda.' But others question whether it is fair to taint everything produced by Alhurra as untrustworthy just because of its funding. Instead it might be instructive to see if other Arab television stations will follow up on Alhurra’s initiative in getting shows like Musawat on the air."
NRC Handelsblad (Rotterdam), 16 Apr 2010, Bram Vermeulen: Fallah al-Dahabi, the Iraqi editor-in-chief of Alhurra TV, "and his station were supposed to become the face of freedom and democracy in the Arab world after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Alhurra, 'the Free One', had to become a station where everything could be said, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without commercial interruptions. The US government set it up in 2004 and has since invested 500 million dollars of taxpayers' money. It hoped to create the Arab equivalent of Radio Free Europe, the anti-communist station that broadcast information across the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. But Alhurra has proved no match for giants like Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya. Less than 2 percent of viewers watch it occasionally. Most deem it too pro-Western, too biased and unreliable. In Iraq, the channel and its chief editor have become targets for blind hatred." -- A January 2010 performance update for Radio Sawa and Alhurra, available at the BBG website, show a 60% weekly reach for Alhurra in Iraq. This is partly due to Alhurra's access to terrestrial transmitters in Iraq, an asset it does not enjoy in other Arab countries. And there is, at least in Iraq, an Arab equivalent of Radio Free Europe. It's Radio Free Iraq, operated by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague.
Qantara.de, 16 Apr 2010, Mona Sarkis: "France 24 is not alone in its [Arabic language] expansion plans. Similar efforts can be seen at the Arabic language stations of the BBC and Deutsche Welle. The Europeans are simply following a trend that began with the American invasion of Iraq. In 2004, the Bush administration launched 'al-Hurra' (The Free), an Arabic-language American television station. Just previous to this, the Iranians financed the start of the Arabic language broadcaster 'al-Alam' (The World). In 2007, the Russians began their own service, followed by the Chinese in 2009."
Reuters, 16 Apr 2010: "'I had wished that the (next) government would be formed on the basis of a political majority, leaving behind the quota-based system, but it seems that idea is still premature,' [Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-] Maliki told the U.S.-funded al-Hurra television network." -- AP, 17 Apr 2010: "Al-Maliki tells the U.S.-funded Alhurra TV station in an interview aired Friday that Allawi's Iraqiya list had the most Sunni support and so must "be partners in forming the government."