Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Saw a report on the news today that Alhurra, the U.S.-sponsored Arabic news channel, is gaining significant audience share and rating higher in credibility. The story also noted Radio Sawa, a sister venture, is gaining popularity as well. This appears to be the source of the news story:
Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa are now reaching a total unduplicated audience of 35 million adults (15 and over) per week according to the latest ACNielsen survey released today. This represents the fourth consecutive audience increase since the inception of the ACNielsen surveys of the stations. The latest survey also shows that in spite of high levels of anti-American sentiment throughout the region, both Alhurra and Radio Sawa are regarded as credible sources of news and information by their audiences.
According to ACNielsen, Alhurra the satellite television station reaching 22 countries in the Middle East has an adult audience of 21.3 million each week in just the nine countries surveyed. ACNielsen also reported that Radio Sawa, the Arabic-language radio network broadcasting music and news, has a weekly audience of 20.8 million adults.
The survey reported that news on Alhurra and Radio Sawa was a powerful programming factor for their audiences. Seventy-seven percent of the Alhurra audience said they were interested in watching Alhurra for the news. Radio Sawa listeners in the broadcaster's key markets ranked the station as one of their top two choices for radio news and information.
Alhurra and Radio Sawa also scored well in news reliability. The ACNielsen survey reported that 77 percent of Alhurra's viewers and 73 percent of Radio Sawa's listeners consider the news reliable. Compared to the ACNielsen surveys a year ago, news credibility for Alhurra took major jumps in three key markets: in Egypt 70 percent to 92 percent, in Jordan from 46 percent to 68 percent, and in Lebanon from 53 percent to 79 percent.

Al Franken, eat your heart out.

The fact Arabs are finding the network more and more credible after a lot of initial skepticism suggests Alhurra is living up to their vow to be truthful and objective. That must be quite a novelty in that corner of the world.

This, too, seems to suggest the trend has been going on for a while now.

Like Voice of America, these are the little things that win Cold Wars. And make no mistake, we're in another Cold War now, with Iran and Syria and even nominal allies like Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Jordan. It's the same old quiet struggle of liberty vs. tyranny against a backdrop of occasional outright war.

Every human being has a fundamental right to freedom and democracy. And, hopefully, the truth shall set them free.

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