Radio Sawa Increases News Coverage To Iraq, Middle East

Washington, D.C., March 20, 2003 – Radio Sawa, the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) popular, 24-hour-a-day Arabic language station, has more than doubled its daily news coverage to Iraq. Additionally, the station broadcast five hours of uninterrupted information the first night bombs fell on Baghdad, including eyewitness reports.

Radio Sawa’s listeners in Iraq, as well as the rest of the Middle East, heard President Bush’s speech live Wednesday night, simultaneously translated into Arabic, as well as up-to-the-minute reports from correspondents in Baghdad, the Middle East and around the world.

Radio Sawa has interviewed many top newsmakers, including Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Iraqi opposition leader Ahmad Chalabi.

Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the BBG’s chairman, praised Radio Sawa’s news director, Mouafac Harb, for his journalistic leadership and his drive for excellence in reporting on breaking events in the Middle East.

Norman J. Pattiz, chairman of the BBG’s Middle East Committee, said, “Having one of the most-listened to radio stations in the region gives us a tremendous advantage, allowing us to present our news to the largest possible audience as events unfold. Obviously, we’ll continue beefing up our news and information programs during the war.”

Radio Sawa, which originates from Washington, has four separate programming streams of news and music, including a stream beamed to Iraq.

Launched a year ago, Radio Sawa made its mark as a music-driven station aimed at young listeners in the Middle East. It has attracted an audience of record numbers, becoming the Number One radio station in many Middle Eastern cities.

Radio Sawa is broadcast across the Middle East on AM, FM, shortwave, digital audio satellite and Internet ( Along with news and music, the station has interactive features that allow people to express opinions on air. The station’s motto is: “You listen to us, We listen to you.”

The BBG is an independent federal agency which supervises all U.S. government-supported non-military international broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL); Radio Free Asia (RFA); Radio and TV Mart