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. Â Alhurra and Radio Sawa, provide America an undistorted line of communication with the people of the Middle East. They deliver accurate and objective information about America, American policies and people with a broad range of perspectives and an open exchange of ideas on issues of importance to the audience. Alhurra and Radio Sawa also present in-depth discussions that are not addressed in the Arabic-language media, such as human rights and freedom of speech and religion.
As part of breaking and in-depth coverage of the 2011 pro-democracy protests in the Middle East, Alhurra and Radio Sawa deployed correspondents to key locations.Â From the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Tunis, Sanaâ€™a, Benghazi, and Tripoli, its reporters recounted protestorsâ€™ aspirations for freedom and democracy. Â Â While independent journalists were threatened and harassed and repressive media laws often restricted rather than protected the pursuit of the truth, MBN networksâ€™ stood out as one of the few sources of independent and reliable information.
Alhurra Television broadcasts objective and accurate Arabic-language news and information to 22 countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa. In addition to reporting on world events, Alhurra provides context and analysis to give viewers a broader understanding of the actions impacting the region. Alhurra also provides the comprehensive coverage from the United States drawing on dedicated correspondents at the White House, State Department, Congress, and Pentagon.
MBN also broadcasts a second channel specifically for Iraq. Alhurra-Iraq is broadcast via satellite, as well as via terrestrial transmitters in four Iraqi cities. Alhurra-Iraqâ€™s news and current affairs programs concentrate on issues facing the Iraqi viewers as they move into a new era, rebuilding their country.
Launched in 2002, Radio Sawa effectively reaches a significant portion of the influential under-35 population of the Middle East. Broadcasting 24/7, mostly on FM, Radio Sawa provides its audience with reliable and objective up-to-date news, interesting information and an upbeat blend of mainstream Western and Arabic popular music. Radio Sawa broadcasts more than seven hours of news and information each day. Additionally, Radio Sawaâ€™s all news Web site provides the most up-to-date news and information in Arabic on the Web, as well as live broadcasts of Radio Sawaâ€™s regional streams.
MBN is also very active in social media, integrating comments and videos posted on its Facebook pages and YouTube channels into its TV and radio content.
Audience Weekly Reach: 35.5 million
Budget: $111.1 million
Outlets: Alhurra TV, Radio Sawa
Headquarters: Springfield, VA
MBNâ€™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 regionâ€™s media.
Alhurra and Alhurra-Iraq are distributed around-the-clock on Nilesat and Arabsat covering the entire Arab-speaking world from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf. Additionally, Alhurra-Iraq is also available terrestrially in Baghdad, Al Hilla, Basra, Tekreet, Al Nasiriyah and Mosul. Live streaming can be found at www.alhurra.com.
Radio Sawa broadcasts on FM in Jordan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Libya, the Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Lebanon, Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and Djibouti as well as in Iraq. It is broadcast on medium wave (AM) from transmitters in Cyprus (covering Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the Eastern Mediterranean), in UAE (covering parts of Saudi Arabia), in Kuwait (covering Iraq) and in Djibouti (covering Sudan, Yemen and parts of Saudi Arabia). Radio Sawa is also available on Arabsat, Nilesat and Eutelsat Hotbird. Streaming audio is available on the Internet at www.radiosawa.com.
Despite death threats, restrictions on Internet access and other majorÂ Â challenges, Alhurra broadcast exhaustive coverage of the historic yearÂ Â in Egypt. At times, because of their courage and ingenuity, AlhurraÂ Â correspondents were the only Arab-language journalists to continueÂ Â broadcasting live from Cairo. According to a telephone poll, 25 percentÂ Â of Egyptian respondents in Alexandria and Cairo were watching AlhurraÂ Â to follow the events in Januaryâ€™s Egyptian Revolution. Alhurraâ€™s coverage of the Egyptian Revolution won the Peopleâ€™s Choice Award from the Association for International Broadcasting for the best international broadcast coverage of the democratic uprisings and the Arab Spring.
The Gaddafi regime severely restricted the press and Alhurra broadcasts were jammed on the Nilesat satellite for nearly a month. In spite of these challenges, Alhurra provided live coverage for as many as 20 hours a day including viewer reports by phone and images sent through Facebook and YouTube. In October, Radio Sawa started broadcasting for the first time on FM in the city of Benghazi.
As with other media outlets, the Syrian regime denied Alhurra permission for an in-country correspondent to cover protests there. To compensate, it has drawn extensively on eyewitness accounts including YouTube, cell phone and other videos as well as telephone interviews with demonstrators.
Alhurra and Radio Sawa continue to be a leading source of news in Iraq reaching nearly 12 million adults each week with in-depth local newscasts and programming. As the U.S. announced plans to withdraw troops, both networks broadcast exclusive footage and interviews with Iraqi and American leaders and provided support to VOA reporters on the ground.
Alhurra and Radio Sawa covered the Tunisian Revolution extensively beginning in December 2010 and continuing through Parliamentary elections in October. Alhurraâ€™s Eye on Democracy traveled to Tunisia to produce a number of documentaries on the role of social media, bloggers and Tunisian youth in the revolution.
Alhurra and Radio Sawa presented in-depth reporting of the South Sudanese vote for independence as well as South Sudanâ€™s first hoursÂ Â of independence.
Alhurraâ€™s 9-11 coverage included more than 50 hours of acquired andÂ Â original programming that explored religious tolerance, coexistence, interfaith dialogue and mutual respect among people of different religions.
- Alhurraâ€™s coverage won the Peopleâ€™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 FestivalsÂ® 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.
- Alhurraâ€™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 Sawaâ€™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.
- Alhurraâ€™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 â€śCourage in Journalismâ€ť 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.