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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 April, 2003, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Iran TV channel targets Iraq
News broadcast on Al-Alam
Al-Alam highlights the impact of war on ordinary civilians

A new 24-hour Arabic-language television channel called Al-Alam - "The World" - is broadcasting to Iraq from neighbouring Iran.

It offers an alternative to the diet of Saddam Hussein decrees, patriotic music and archive footage of military displays shown on Baghdad domestic and satellite channels.

The news channel - which started regular broadcasting in March - is opposed to the US-led invasion of Iraq and the ruling Ba'ath Party.

Its hourly news bulletin has been showing extensive footage of Iraqi civilians lying dead in residential areas or being treated in hospitals.

The channel's roundup of the latest US-British attacks on Iraq is aired under the slogan "War of domination" and it describes the coalition troops as "occupiers".

In addition to news bulletins, Al-Alam has regular roundtable discussions with researchers and experts including Iraqi dissidents and exiles opposed to Saddam Hussein.


The station is based in Tehran and run by IRIB - the Iranian state radio and TV service. It broadcasts on terrestrial airwaves to Iraq, as well as via satellite.

Al-Alam logo
The purpose of the channel is to present the viewpoints of the Islamic world and counter the monopolisation of news channels by western countries
Hasan Beheshtipur
Al-Alam's managing director

The transmissions are believed to be broadcast from a TV relay station on high ground in Iran overlooking parts of Iraq.

There are reports from Baghdad that sales of aerials have soared in the capital - and that might boost the popularity of Al-Alam. Satellite dishes are banned in Iraq.

The station is also available on the internet and can be received in the Middle East, Europe, Asia-Pacific and America.

Al-Jazeera lookalike

A BBC Monitoring media analyst has noted a similarity between Al-Alam's format and that of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite TV.

An "Exclusive Al-Alam" caption comes up when the station shows its own reports and their logo Al-Alam in Arabic script appears on the right-hand side of the screen.

The station broadcasts in Arabic with a news ticker in English updating the news on the war from international news agency reports.

Al-Alam's managing director Hasan Beheshtipur has said that the purpose of the channel is to present the viewpoints of the Islamic world and "counter the monopolisation of news channels by western countries".

He said "the network plans to fill the existing vacuum in news dissemination in today's world".

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


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