Television

US to launch Arabic television network by year end

WASHINGTON: Ever since 9/11 happened, a couple of years ago, Al-Jazeera and other Arab news channels have gained tremendous momentum. Realising this, the Bush administration has announced plans to start its own 24/7 Arab-language satellite television network before the year is through.

Reports indicate that the network is part of a broader effort to bring balanced reporting on international issues to an area of the world, where one-sided coverage is the norm and there is scant support for American policies.

The US station is temporarily being called The Middle East Television Network. However officials expect to have a new name before broadcasts begin. Congress has approved $32 million for the network, and US President Bush has asked for an additional $30 million.

An AP report further states that the Qatari-based Al-Jazeera has come under fire from US administration officials. They argue that the network has given terrorists a platform. One of its star reporters was recently accused of being an Al-Qaida member. The network has also been criticised for challenging the different perspectives of Arab governments which is something they are not used to.

Last year in March the US administration launched Radio Sawa, a station tailored for listeners in Arab countries. ACNielsen has said that the station is now the leading international broadcaster in the Middle East countries surveyed.

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