U.S. public diplomacy programs aim to cultivate connections between foreign publics and the United States, which in theory fosters greater understanding of the United States, its motivations, and ultimate policy objectives. It should make sense of U.S. politics and reveal a more "objective" picture of the stewards of U.S. policy, who act at the behest of the American people. And it’s not an exact science. Strongly entrenched negative views about the U.S. in the Middle East (and elsewhere) continue to push the State Department towards new ideas for how this can be accomplished.
This interview with First Secretary M. Ashraf Haidari was originally published in International Affairs Journal, Vol. 3 No. 1, University of California at Davis.
The latest Middle East TV ratings that list actual tune-in of news channels, obtained exclusively by Worldcasting, show business as usual but also some surprises.
Al Jazeera, the Qatari government-owned channel, continues to hold forth in popularity in Egypt. Al Arabiya, funded in part by the Saudi government through a holding company, once again tops others in Saudi Arabia by a wide margin, but it also garnered impressive audience ratings in Iraq, where Alhurra, the U.S. government service, continues to trail its competition, there and elsewhere.
Egypt this week pulled the plug on al-Zawraa, the controversial channel controlled by Iraq's Sunni insurgency, but it is still available across the Middle East thanks to America's Gulf allies.
The channel broadcasts non-stop footage of attacks on U.S. troops interwoven with verbal attacks on Iran and Shiites, like Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who it accuses of being loyal to Iran. Since its launch in mid-November, al-Zawraa has been distributed by Nilesat, a satellite provider controlled by the Egyptian government.
(Cairo) -- A controversial TV channel that is the voice of Iraq's anti-American insurgents look set to launch another front in the propaganda war against the U.S.
The head of al-Zawraa, which airs footage produced by the Islamic Army of Iraq, says he has finalized a deal for the channel to be distributed on three European satellites, including one seen by American viewers.
The move comes as U.S. officials are pressing Egypt to stop transmitting the channel via its Nilesat satellite.
(Cairo) Sunni-Shia power politics and U.S.-Egyptian relations have come head-to-head in a dispute over a satellite television station that is the latest weapon in the arsenal of Iraq’s insurgents.
Al-Zawraa, a television version of the now-infamous jihadi websites, is being broadcast across the Arab world by Nilesat, a satellite provider answerable to the Egyptian government. The Iraqi station features non-stop scenes of U.S. troops being picked off by snipers, blown up by roadside bombs and targeted by missiles.
(Cairo) -- Bad news is often good news for journalists. Last week's assassination of Lebanese opposition leader Pierre Gemayel may have been exactly that for al-Jazeera English, the Westernized cousin of the channel the Bush administration loves to hate.
It may be too soon to tell, but it appears that Al Jazeera's plans to go public may have suffered a severe setback when its long awaited English channel failed to achieve major distribution into American homes following its November 15 debut.
Al Jazeera International has come up short thus far in its biggest effort yet to transform its maverick Middle East brand into an attractive worldwide public business investment.