June 25, 2008

The freedom of speech and the freedom to propagate

Aljazeera English's TV programme Listening Post is always worth a watch. It handles television news and current affairs as media issues but in an amusing non-specialist way.
This morning's broadcast was exceptionally about Aljazeera itself, and its lack of coverage and reach in the United States: only two cities, Toledo and Burlington, have the channel on their city cable systems. If you want to watch it in America you either need your own satellite dish or watch it online. Now Burlington is in the middle of a public spat over whether to let Aljazeera continue broadcasting on their cable, with high-spirited public meetings arguing for and against a ban. All very much fun and games, especially the ban proponents' argument that it is anti-Israel and anti-America, to which the ban opponents reply that Aljazeera is one of the most watched stations in Israel.

You can watch the show here on YouTube.

By sheer coincidence, that other paragon of American journalistic quality, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, ran an item last night about the American Government-funded Arabic channel Al Hurra and its lack of impact it is having on Middle Eastern public opinion about America, despite its massive funding.

Links: Transcript and video.

It's fairly obvious that the men at IBB, who run all the American "propaganda" channels (not Fox News TV!) like TV Marti, VOA or Al Hurra, are still fighting the media war as if it was a cold one. Radio Liberty may have contributed to the fall of the evil Soviet empire, but I can't see Al Hurra do quite the same thing to Iran or (Allah forbid because they're our mates) Saudi Arabia. Perhaps they should subcontract Al Hurra wholesale to Fox News to give those Ayrabs a taste of America.

Personally, I'm quite proud to have been involved in bringing VOA and Aljazeera to New Zealand without busybodies interfering - although they have tried!

No comments: