Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa Bring MLK Speech Anniversary Celebrations to the Middle East

President Obama speaking at MLK anniversary event. (screenshot from Alhurra TV)The Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) provided its Arabic-speaking audience with live and comprehensive programming marking the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech on August 28. MBN is the only Arabic- language network which took a comprehensive look at this historical event through its multi-platform operations, Alhurra Television, Radio Sawa and MBN Digital.

On the day of the event, Alhurra was the only Arabic-language network to carry President Barack Obama’s remarks live with simultaneous translation along with reports from the Lincoln Memorial. Alhurra’s coverage included a look at race in America and  interviews with young Arab civil rights activists who talked about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s impact, and his legacy.

Alhurra’s current affairs programs examined civil disobedience and how that was used historically to end segregation in the U.S. and whether or not people across the globe are living up to Dr. King’s ideal set out in his peaceful protests, especially in the Arab world. Footage for some of Alhurra’s current affairs programming was provided by VOA.

Additionally, Alhurra broadcast acquired documentaries to commemorate the 50th anniversary such as:

    • Freedom Riders: The story behind a courageous band of civil rights activists called Freedom Riders who, in 1961, challenged segregation in the American South.
    • MLK- The Assassination Tapes:  This program follows the events immediately leading up to and following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through the compilation of historical footage, interviews, and news broadcasts.
    • American Experience: Roads to Memphis:  A detailed look behind the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • A Ripple of Hope:  Despite the violence raging across the country after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , Robert F. Kennedy courageously kept his promise to speak to African-Americans in inner-city Indianapolis. His speech–a moving, extemporaneous plea for peace and reconciliation–would be regarded as one of the greatest political speeches of the twentieth century.

Radio Sawa’s reporters were also on the scene to report on the Let Freedom Ring and Call to Action Ceremony. The radio network has been covering the events leading up to the Aug. 28th rally and produced feature reports on the civil rights movement in the U.S. in the 1960s and examining race issues facing Arab-Americans. The evening of Aug. 27th, Sawa Magazine dedicated the episode to the last impact of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and focused on the power of peaceful protests in the U.S. and  reporters were at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28th to provide online audiences the sights and sounds from the ground. Their coverage included a feature about the sights and sounds of the day. They also produced a “From the Street” video segment for the web asking people about their feelings about racism and the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr.