Sunday, June 22, 2008

Al Hurra fails to connect in the Middle East ...

In the WaPo, here and for a better sense as to why the station is under attack () read here in YNEtnews.
"...Al-Hurra -- "The Free One" in Arabic -- is the centerpiece of a U.S. government campaign to spread democracy in the Middle East. Taxpayers have spent $350 million on the project. But more than four years after it began broadcasting, the station is widely regarded as a flop in the Arab world, where it has struggled to attract viewers and overcome skepticism about its mission. Since its inception, al-Hurra has been plagued by mediocre programming, congressional interference and a succession of executives who either had little experience in television or could not speak Arabic, according to interviews with former staffers, other Arab journalists and viewers in the Middle East...
Harb filled the newsroom with Lebanese employees, many of whom had thin journalistic credentials. Anchors spoke in heavy Lebanese dialects"He hired his friends -- this was the problem -- and they didn't have any experience," said Magdi Khalil.... "He had no idea what being a news station means".... former al-Hurra staffers said Harb was encouraged to leave"(he says) ...because he sensed the Broadcasting Board of Governors wanted al-Hurra to promote U.S. foreign policy instead of just reporting the news..."
Washington Institute's Robert Satloff has a segment on al Hurra

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