The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. (MBN) is the non-profit news organization that operates Alhurra Television, Radio Sawa and MBN Digital reaching audiences in 22 countries across the region. These networks provide an undistorted line of communication with the people of the Middle East and North Africa. They deliver accurate and objective information on the region, American policies and Americana with a broad range of perspectives and an open dialogue on issues of importance to the audience.
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In markets without press freedom and in hotspots that continue to be dangerous for journalists, Alhurra and Radio Sawa are on the front lines providing reliable and news. As of the time of publication, Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi remains missing in Syria since August 2012.
Alhurra is a 24/7 Arabic-language television network that provides news and analysis to more than 20 million viewers each week. Its in-depth discussion programs provide points of view from throughout the region and the U.S.
Radio Sawa attracts young audiences by playing contemporary Arabic and Western music with news and information programs. It is one of the most popular radio stations in the countries where it can be heard on FM.
Tackling topics not found in other media outlets, Alhurra and Radio Sawa are connecting with Arab audiences. They are regularly cited for their trustworthy news and have been recognized with numerous awards for their on-air content.
MBN Digital provides original reporting and interactive posts on Facebook and integration within on-air broadcasts. Primetime newscasts and current affairs programs incorporate social media into their daily lineups.
MBN operates under a grant from the BBG.
Budget: $105.7 million in FY 2013
Outlets: Alhurra TV, Radio Sawa
Broadcast Hours: 683
Headquarters: Springfield, VA
MBN’s mission is to provide objective, accurate, and relevant news and information to the people of the Middle East about the region, the world, and the United States. MBN supports democratic values by expanding the spectrum of ideas, opinions, and perspectives available in the region’s media.
In the summer of 2013, Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa correspondents reported live from the streets of Cairo and Alexandria on the events that left more than 600 dead and thousands injured in Egypt following the removal of Egyptian President Morsi from power.
In 2013, Alhurra had interviews with several world leaders including Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Somali Foreign Minister Fowzia Yusuf Adam and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
In 2013, MBN’s shortwave radio program Afia Darfur reported on Darfurian prosecutors that faced the challenges of little authority and widespread impunity, and on refugee children who had resorted to stealing and drugs because of the lack of opportunities. These reports received critical acclaim.
Science and Technology
Alhurra frequently reports on medical and technological advancements through programs like Al Youm and i-TECH. Al Youm recently reported on scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in California who snapped the most detailed photo ever of a key part of the Hepatitis C virus which will help speed up the development of an effective hepatitis C vaccine.
Alhurra-Iraq launched Youth Talk in 2013, a weekly program that highlights talented young people talking about their achievements and aspirations, as well as the challenges they face in Iraq society. However, in discussing the challenges, Youth Talk puts emphasis on finding solution. Its Facebook page encourages young Iraqis to exchange ideas and writings to identify their views on various issues; political, scientific, cultural, social, and technical.
MBN Digital focused its efforts on more original reporting and more interactive posts on Facebook, as well as integration within television and radio broadcasts. Alhurra’s primetime newscasts and many of its current affairs programs incorporate social media into their daily and weekly programs. More and more of MBN’s audience are using mobile platforms and the Alhurra app to get the latest news and information; Alhurra and Radio Sawa’s Facebook pages now each have over 3 million ‘likes.’
- Alhurra’s coverage won the People’s Choice Award from the Association for International Broadcasting for the best international broadcast coverage of the democratic uprisings and the Arab Spring for its coverage of the Egyptian Revolution.
- New York Festivals® International Radio Program named Sawa Magazine a finalist for its report on a movement using the Internet to raise awareness about oppression of women in the Arab World.
- Alhurra’s Al Youm was named a finalist of New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards in the human interest category for its examination of child labor abuses in Egypt.
- Radio Sawa’s The Free Zone was named a finalist for the New York Festivals International Radio Program and Promotions Awards in the human interest category for its examination of child marriage and forced divorce in Saudi Arabia.
- Alhurra’s original documentary, Konoungo: The Darfurian Exile, profiling the humanitarian crisis facing Darfurian refugees, received top billing at the third annual Cairo Human Rights Film Festival.
- The Kulwathe Cultural Forum awarded Alhurra for the best political and cultural talk shows and named Falah El-Thahabi best male journalist and Rafal Mahdi best female correspondent.
- Correspondent Ahmad Arram was given the “Courage in Journalism” Award by the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory in Iraq for his TV reporting on alleged fraudulent land deals by the Iraqi government.
- The Pan Arab Web Awards Academy awarded Radio Sawa first prize for website excellence in the Media-TV and Radio category.