Two FM radio stations in the United Arab Emirates have joined the Middle East Radio Network’s (MERN) Radio Sawa, broadcasting international and regional news around the clock.
In Dubai, the Arabic-language Radio Sawa can be heard on FM 90.5. In Abu Dhabi, it is broadcast on FM 98.7.
The new stations are part of the radio network that debuted in March when Radio Sawa went on the air in Amman, Jordan (FM 98.1), and Kuwait City, Kuwait (FM 95.7). It is also available on Nilesat, Arabsat and Eutelsat Hotbird.
Radio Sawa’s news programs, called “The World Now,” are broadcast twice each hour, providing up-to-the-minute information about fast-moving events in the Middle East and around the world.
“Accurate, objective news and information are the lifeblood of Radio Sawa,” said Norman J. Pattiz, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which spearheaded creation of the U.S.-government funded network. “We’re committed to fighting misinformation and to telling the truth about what’s happening in the Middle East and the world.”
Besides news and entertainment, Radio Sawa has launched a series of Public Service Announcements (PSA), the first of which targets driving while intoxicated.
The radio network is being phased in over several months. It is expected to be fully operational in late summer 2002. By then, it will contain a full mix of news, analysis, interviews, opinion pieces, roundtables, sports, weather, music and features on a variety of political and social issues in five regional Arabic dialects. The network will be targeted to Jordan and the Palestinian areas, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, North Africa and the Gulf States. Central offices will be in Washington, D.C. and Dubai.
The network is a pilot project of the Voice of America, one of the entities the BBG supervises. The BBG received from Congress approximately $35 million for MERN in fiscal year 2002, including $16.4 million for one-time capital costs for transmitters.