Statement of the Broadcasting Board of Governors on the Launch of BBC Arabic TV

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) welcomes the addition of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) into the vibrant Arabic television marketplace with the launch of its Arabic Television Channel next week.

“We welcome another pluralistic voice in the critical media market of the Middle East,” said James K. Glassman, Chairman of the BBG, which oversees all non-military U.S. taxpayer-funded international broadcasting, including Arabic-language broadcasts on Alhurra Television and Radio Sawa.

Launched in 2004, Alhurra now reaches an estimated audience of 23 million people across 22 countries in the Middle East, including an Iraqi audience equal to or larger than that of Al-Jazeera, according to recent research. Alhurra (Arabic for The Free One) has gained popularity due to its credible news and balanced reporting about the Middle East, United States and the world. It is a commercial-free Arabic-language satellite television channel devoted primarily to news and information.

“Both Alhurra and BBC Arabic television come from long, well-tested journalistic traditions. More journalistic media choices can only further empower viewers in the Middle East who are seeking accurate and objective news and information,” said Brian Conniff, President of the Middle East Broadcast Networks (MBN) that incorporate Alhurra Television.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, non-military international broadcasting, whose mission is to promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding through multi-media communication of accurate, objective, and balanced news, information, and other programming about America and the world to audiences overseas. BBG broadcasting organizations include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Mart

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