In this entry: quotes, warm up questions, discussion questions, resources
In this video, media experts discuss Al Hurra, a U.S. government-funded Arab language television network that was created to broadcast current news and information about American policies to the Arab and Muslim world. The network was created after the 9/11 attacks and is one of several government news networks used to reach nations with strained U.S. relations.
Al Hurra has been criticized recently for not achieving its goal of attracting a broad Arab audience, while costing the government hundreds of millions of dollars. There have also been problems with monitoring the content that is broadcast because the State Department team watching it does not have any fluent Arab speakers.
The beginning of the segment is a short set-up describing Al Hurra and could be used on its own as a classroom introduction to the subject. Then, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs and a professor of Middle East politics debate the pros and cons of the network.
"What Al Hurra was conceived to do was to bring to the Arab-speaking world -- in this case 22 countries -- a free press, to show them what a free press is like, to report in many cases stories that are not being reported by their own press or by the pan-Arab press." -James Glassman, Under Secretary of State
"People don't form their opinion based on the media. Our own public, 85 percent of our own public, is frustrated with our foreign policy. They're watching the American media. So it has no impact on public opinion." -Shibley Telhami, University of Maryland
"We are professional broadcasters, and members of Congress who want us to be propagandists, we won't do that. We absolutely will not do that." -James Glassman, Under Secretary of State
How do people in the Middle East view the United States? Do you think opinion of the U.S. has improved or become more negative over the last few years? Why?
Is Al Hurra a good idea? Why or why not?
What are some of the reasons people might be suspicious of stories on a U.S. government run news network?
Do you agree with Shibley Telhami that people don't form opinions based on the media? How do you form your opinions?
Transcript of this report
NewsHour Story: Voice of America Adjusts to Changing Global Market
Frontline/World looks at Al Jazeera and other Arab news media in the Middle East