Abu Dhabi TV, Al Jazeera slug it out for war eyeballs

MUMBAI: It's not just the US networks that are in a ratings and influence peddling war as the US-led invasion rumbles on.

On one hand, there's Al Jazeera which caused a stir with the broadcast of battle casualties in the last few days, images that many western news organisations would consider too shocking to publish. Reports in the Guardian say the channel's footage of Iraqi television's interviews with five captured American soldiers caused US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld to dub it a "breach of the Geneva convention." Now that's an original line.

Yet, Al Jazeera is the most watched channel in the Arab world currently, says the Guardian. But when it comes to making a mark internationally, the very images that are making the US networks suddenly queezy is proving a boon for another Arab channel. Abu Dhabi Television (ADTV) is emerging as a frontliner in feeding 'crucial' footage on the Iraq war to international networks, thanks to its strategic location in the centre of Baghdad, near the Tigris river.

ADTV has readied well for this war, what with an intensive three month preparation, professional staff and technical expertise, according to the UAE-based Gulf News ,which quotes Ali Al Ahmed, director of ADTV, Emirates Media Inc as saying that more than 120 broadcasting networks and media organisations including APTN, AFP, Reuters, CNN and others are subscribing or 'picking up' their exclusive live footage of the war. 

Al-Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar, which is cooperating with the US in the invasion of Iraq, but staff insist it has full editorial freedom. Al Jazeera's main studio too, is located in the Qatari capital Doha. As the only television station with a permanent base in Kabul, it also became a source of exclusive footage that other channels around the world were eager to buy during the Afghan conflict. 

Al-Jazeera has seven reporters and a back-up team of 20 working independently in Iraq, plus others "embedded" with the US and British forces. Before the war, executives predicted that their team would have an advantage over western journalists because of their familiarity with Iraq and fluency in Arabic. 

On Sunday, the channel broadcast a lengthy interview with an Iraqi general in Basra denying that US and British forces had taken the city, and also filmed the search in Baghdad for two western pilots who had allegedly baled out over the city. 

ADTV on its part, has stepped up news coverage to 24 hours from last week. Ahmed has told Gulf News that the channel has three crews working round the clock and that it is the only television channel to be equipped with a studio and other facilities in Baghdad city, and claims that some of the dramatic images from the live coverage of the 'shock and awe bombardment' of Baghdad on most international networks such as CNN were exclusive ADTV footage. 

ADTV's Baghdad bureau, with three correspondents, supported by a technical crew, also sports two satellite trucks. The station, which has reporters and technical crew - comprising engineers, technicians, cameramen and producers - positioned in the north, west, south and east of Iraq, has around 40 reporters in the field covering the war.They have also deployed reporters in Baghdad, northern Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Jordan with a maximum presence in Kuwait, Al Ahmed said.

"We need to keep the momentum going. We shall shortly move our correspondents to Basra, where the action may be concentrated next," Ahmed has told Gulf News.

Coming back to Al-Jazeera, there has been a not-so-subtle riposte to its coverage from the New York Stock Exchange. Al-Jazeera said Tuesday the NYSE has banned its reporters - a move the station attributed to its reports on Iraq.

"Al-Jazeera has received an official letter from the New York Stock Exchange informing it that the station's financial reporters can no longer present their reports from the exchange," the satellite channel reported on its morning financial broadcast. The station reported that the letter said the exchange wanted to limit the number of television stations covering the exchange. But Al-Jazeera, which has been covering the NYSE for years, said it was believed to be the only channel affected by the action.

Latest Reads
Dream11 aims to increase user base with Hero ISL season 5: Vikrant Mudaliar

Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) season five is just around the corner and Dream11 being the official fantasy football partner and home to more than four crore fantasy sports fans is looking to capitalise on the championship buzz to expand its user base.

Television TV Channels Sports
Pet Tales with Mindshare's Ruchi Mathur

Animal Planet is celebrating the bond that humans share with animals through this heartwarming series called ‘Animal Planet Pet Tales’ on the special relationship that India’s top media executives share with their pets.  What’s your favorite pet movie? I don't really have a favourite pet story as...

Television TV Channels Factual @ Discovery
MN+ launches ‘Wings of Change’

MN+, the Gold Class of Hollywood movies, launches a specially curated property ‘Wings of Change’ to celebrate women who have created a paradigm shift in the world of cinema. Starting September 21, 11p.m on MN+, the eight-week property, ‘Wings of Change’ will feature movies starring some of the most...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Aaj Tak announces the launch of ‘Saare Jahaan Se Sachcha’

Launch Platform includes the first ever News Roadblock on Aaj tak Prime Time

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Teleshopping market sees growth ahead

Since the inception of television home shopping industry in India in the 90s, it has come a long way as compared to the time when the segment was associated with ‘magical’ products, impractical promises or dubbed English slots.

Television TV Channels Specialised and Niche
iTV Foundation organizes free day-long health camp in Karnal

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Monday inaugurated iTV network foundation's free health camp which was held in Karnal, Haryana and lauded the initiative taken by the group. Speaking at the event, Manohar Lal Khattar said that their objective is to increase the number of doctors in the...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Viacom18 dials up its kid’s ecosystem - extends the KidZania association to Mumbai

Viacom18, India’s fastest growing media & entertainment network is all set to extend its association with KidZania to Mumbai.

Television TV Channels Kids
Rajiv Mathrani joins Star Sports as chief marketing officer

Star Sports has appointed Rajiv Mathrani as its new chief marketing officer (CMO), a source close to the development has confirmed to

Television TV Channels Sports
IBF rejigs board; appoints VPs to steer key objectives

The board of directors of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has unanimously appointed Siddharth Jain, Rajat Sharma, Sudhanshu Vats and K Madhavan as the vice-presidents to broadbase and liaise with the government and other stakeholders for the sectoral growth.

Television TV Channels People

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories