Public service TV ads discourage Arab-Muslim stereotyping

MUMBAI: Two new television public service announcements (PSAs) that discourage ethnic stereotyping of Arab and Muslim Americans have been released. This is a joint effort between The Arab American Institute, Colorado-based Starz Encore Group, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) as well as Cleveland-based Brokaw Inc. The PSAs will run in more than 71 million American television homes with support of cable & satellite TV industries.

The spots include the "Tolerance" PSA produced by Starz Encore Group contains images of Arab and Muslim Americans. It reminds the viewer that hostility directed toward fellow Americans just because they look like the perpetrators of the 11 September attacks is actually an attack on individual liberty.

The "Twin Towers" PSA, produced by Brokaw Inc. of Cleveland in association with the Arab American Institute, is voiced by "Family Ties" star Michael Gross. As Gross speaks his words appear on screen and form the outlines of the twin towers as they once stood in the Manhattan skyline.

The premium movie channel provider Starz Encore, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation, and Brokaw Inc. produced the PSAs at their own expense. Brokaw Inc. is a full-service, award-winning creative brand development firm. The PSAs stress the vital need for tolerance and warns against hate, injustices and discrimination against Asians.

Cable operators AOL Time Warner Cable, AT&T Broadband, Adelphia Communications, Charter Communications, Comcast Cable Communications and Cox Communications are all supporting the effort. They serve 54 million homes. The NCTA will inform its membership about the PSAs. This includes programming networks and cable television systems that reach 69 per cent of the United States' 102 million TV households. DIRECTV will carry one or both of the PSAs.

Starz Encore Group, the largest provider of cable and satellite delivered premium movie channels in the United States, is already airing its PSA in the heaviest rotation ever on all 13 of its movie channels. Starz Encore are uplinking the spots to the entire TV industry, including broadcasters, free of charge via three separate 15-minute satellite feeds. The first uplink took place on 21 December with two more scheduled for 27 December and 3 January at 2:00 p.m. ET.

The feeds can be found on the Galaxy 11 satellite, transponder C08. Galaxy 11 is located at 91 degrees west. The downlink frequency will be 3860 MHz with vertical polarity. Feeds will be analog and "in the clear."

Starz Encore Group owns 15 American channels with approximately 107 million pay units.

NCTA is the principal trade association of the cable television industry in the US. NCTA represents cable operators serving more than 90 per cent of the country's cable television households and more than 200 cable programme networks.

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