Alhurra TV, Radio Sawa

The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. (MBN) is the non-profit news organization that operates Alhurra Television and Radio Sawa under a grant from the BBG. These networks provide the United States an undistorted line of communication with the people of the Middle East. They deliver accurate and objective information about America, American policies and its people with a broad range of perspectives and an open exchange of ideas on issues of importance to the audience.

As the pro-democracy movements continue to sweep across the Middle East, Alhurra and Radio Sawa journalists are on the front lines providing accurate and objective news to audiences across the region. The Middle East remained a dangerous place for journalists in 2012: Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi disappeared in Syria in August and remains missing as of the time of publication. Although freedom of the press has improved in a few countries according to Freedom House, reporters remain severely restricted in the Middle East.

In addition to reporting on the news, Alhurra and Radio Sawa stand apart from many other Arabic-language media in that they present all sides of sensitive issues not found in other media outlets. Alhurra and Radio Sawa also provide comprehensive coverage from the United States—politics, values and its people.

Each day, Radio Sawa provides more than seven hours of up-to-date news and information with an upbeat mix of mainstream Western and Arabic popular music. Broadcast 24/7 and mostly on FM, Sawa reaches a significant portion of the influential under 35 population in the region.

MBN greatly expanded its outreach through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and bloggers from Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia became regulars on Alhurra’s news talk shows.

Fast Facts

Audience Weekly Reach: 35.5 million

Employees: 763

Budget: $110.3 million

Outlets: Alhurra TV, Radio Sawa

Broadcast Hours: 683

Headquarters: Springfield, VA

Mission

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.

Highlights

“Radio Sawa’s…innovative format, mixing popular music and public affairs, made an immediate impact in the region when it was launched…  Its enduring popularity is a testimony to the professionalism and commitment of the entire staff”  – Sec. Hillary Clinton, on the 10th anniversary of Radio Sawa, Feb. 29, 2012Egypt

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.

Iraq

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.

Sudan

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.

Reaching Youth

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.

Digital Push

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.’

Earlier Highlights

Awards

  • 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.

 

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