Statement of Broadcasting Board of Governors on Reports about Arabic TV Broadcasts

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is posting three recent reports about Alhurra Television, the BBG’s Arabic-language television service to the Middle East.

Reports by the University of Southern California, Annenberg School; by a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism; and by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) are being used as tools in the BBG’s continued evaluation of Alhurra and in Alhurra’s management and program planning. Audience and market researchon Alhurra from June 2008 is another important source of input.

In 2007, the BBG contracted with the Annenberg School to conduct a study of Alhurra Television and determine how its programming conforms with its Journalistic Code. Annenberg’s report, “Evaluation of Alhurra Television Programming,” which examined programming that aired during November 2007, makes recommendations for improving the quality and depth of broadcasts. The BBG agrees with some of these recommendations and will use them to help chart the way forward for Alhurra.

Go to the Annenberg report: here

Alhurra Television asked the Chairman of the Radio-Television Journalism Faculty of the University of Missouri School of Journalism to examine its program content as part of an annual performance review process. The University examined programming from July 2008. The report states that “Alhurra Television does most things right most of the time,” while also acknowledging the need for more in-depth training and editorial vigilance. The recommendations included in this study will also assist Alhurra in its ambitious training program to continue to develop the quality of its broadcast product.

Go to the University of Missouri report: here

The BBG has also benefited from a May 2008 Office of Inspector General report, which reviewed Alhurra’s current programming policies and procedures. This report takes note of progress made at Alhurra, concluding that “during the past year (Alhurra) has put into place more vigorous policies, procedures, training, and tools for transparency in order to preserve its credibility.”

Go to the OIG report: here

As Alhurra’s stature and audience grow in the region, the BBG will remain vigilant in monitoring program quality and impact. Alhurra has developed a reputation as a valued source for English and Arabic news organizations. Alhurra is already drawing the largest audience U.S. international broadcasting has ever attracted in the Middle East. With the benefit of these independent analyses, we look forward to the continued growth of the network’s audience and journalistic excellence.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, non-military international broadcasting, whose mission is to promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding through multi-media communication of accurate, objective, and balanced news, information, and other programming about America and the world to audiences overseas. BBG broadcasting organizations include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Mart