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


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.


“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

As Egypt held its first democratic presidential elections, Alhurra partnered with the most popular television network in Egypt, Al Hayat TV, to produce The President—Egypt 2012, an eight-part special series that included in-depth interviews with candidates. On Election Day, correspondents crisscrossed the country from 11 key cities to report on the voting and vital issues driving voters to the polls.

Alhurra also took to the streets of Egypt, launching Rayheen ala Feen? (Where Are We Going?), which provides personal perspective from young Egyptians, and Street Pulse, which looks at cultural and social issues.


When violence broke out across the region following the release of an anti-Islam YouTube video, Alhurra brought perspective to the issue through interviews with American officials and experts, including Under Secretary of State Tara Sonenshine.

Radio Sawa expanded its reach in Libya by adding FM transmitters in Libya’s largest cities.


Alhurra covered a broad range of issues related to Syria’s civil war that have included discussions of the impact of the fighting on women, refugees and media. Alhurra also had reporting from Homs in March and Aleppo and Idlib in August 2012—where fighting was at its worst.


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. Radio Sawa is the most popular radio broadcaster in Iraq and Alhurra is among Iraqis’ top-ten most important TV sources for news.

Israel/Palestinian Territories

“Our judges said the importance of this story is immense. By hearing from both sides, and from witnesses, this well-presented story took courage and understanding to produce.”  – Association for International Broadcasting, Nov. 7, 2012 on Afia Darfur’s report on violence in Kabkabiya, Sudan

When fighting broke out between Israel and Hamas, Alhurra was there to show both sides of this situation with reporters in Jerusalem, Kiryat Malachi, Sedrot, West Bank and Gaza. The network gave a voice to the Israeli position not seen on other Arabic-language channels and highlighted the devastation hitting Israeli and Palestinian citizens.

United States

Alhurra and Radio Sawa provided comprehensive coverage of the 2012 Presidential election. As a part of that coverage, Alhurra and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions produced The Making of Democracy. The documentary provided a behind-the-scenes look at the 2012 elections through stories of candidates, U.S. citizens, Arab Americans, and others involved in local and national races.


MBN produces a daily Arabic-language all news and information program, Afia Darfur. Broadcasting on shortwave radio, Afia Darfur focuses on the latest news from Sudan and the plight of displaced people in Darfur and eastern Chad.

Earlier Highlights


  • 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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