Alhurra Television and Radio Sawa provided their audiences in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe with extensive coverage of Mauritania’s first presidential election since last August’s military coup that marked the beginning of authoritarian rule. Alhurra and Radio Sawa aired live updates and extensive newscasts from Mauritania and analysis from major cities in the Middle East, North Africa and the United States to highlight this significant event that took place on July 18, 2009, and shaped the future of this northwest Saharan country.
Alhurra’s coverage of Mauritania’s presidential election began on July 12 with the first episode of a half hour program Mauritania Elects which aired daily at 22:30 (all times GMT) through July 19. Mauritania Elects offered insights into what were the main concerns driving voters’ decisions, such as economy, peace, stability and the role of local media. Alhurra’s journalists explored the aspirations of the Mauritanian people who embarked on the road to democracy. On election day, Alhurra extended its newscasts at 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. from 30 minutes to a full hour. In addition, Alhurra aired three hours of special coverage of the election results starting at 20:00. Moreover, on the election day, Thirty Minutes, Alhurra’s weekly news program provided a comprehensive examination of issues of paramount importance to voters. Alhurra’s flagship talk show Free Hour held a roundtable discussion on the day after the election on what the result meant for the future of Mauritania.
Radio Sawa also aired hourly informative updates about the election in expanded newscasts and live coverage from Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital. The daily program Sawa Magazine focused on the election and commented on its significance to Mauritania, North Africa and the Sub-Sahara region.
Alhurra Television’s three hour live evening program, Al Youm, asked its viewers to share their comments of Mauritania’s presidential election through emails and Al Youm