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Wednesday, October 26, 2005


BBC Arabic Television Service

According to The NY Times, “the BBC Arabic Television Service is to broadcast 12 hours a day across the Middle East, beginning in 2007, and will be free to anyone with a satellite or cable connection. It will make the BBC the only ‘tri-media international news provider offering Arabic news and current affairs on television, radio and online,’ BBC said in a news release.”

I think this is good news. The BBC will be competing directly with al-Jazeera and will hopefully continue to provide less biased media. "Most people in the Arab world are very clear that, despite being funded by the UK taxpayer, they see the BBC as an independent broadcasting force and have done for over 60 years," said World Service director, Nigel Chapman. With this move, more of the Middle East will be able to get more honest news and not propaganda disguised as news. Of course, this assumes we in the West and East are ready to hear things that we used to dismiss as al-Jazeera propaganda and is now something we must consider no matter how painful.

At the same time, al-Jazeera is preparing to launch an English language version. I honestly think that will be interesting but, unfortunately, many people with not filter what they hear with other sources and, since it is on TV, will believe everything they read. Oh well, guess that is just a risk of free media.


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