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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 February, 2004, 14:48 GMT
Scorn for new US Arabic channel

The launch of the new US-financed Arabic TV network, Al-Hurra (the Free One), draws some stinging comments from Middle Eastern media this week.

Many accuse the satellite channel of lacking credibility and predict it will find it hard to win its audience's trust because of America's policies.

One commentator, however, accuses critics of being "overwhelmed" by conspiracy theories, and welcomes the new voice in the region.

No amount of sweet words and pretty pictures will change the reality of an Israeli occupation, soon in its 37th year, or the chaos in Iraq, both of which can be directly attributed to American policy... It all seems so obvious, at least to most of the people of this region that, to borrow the phrase of an American cultural icon, "Doh!"

Jordan Times

The huge American investment in the establishment of the network reveals the extent to which America's hostile policies against the Muslim and Arab worlds have led to hatred and negative public opinion in that region.

Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran radio

The US is spending hundreds of millions of dollars marketing its policies, and establishing newspapers and TV and radio stations, including Al-Hurra, which is the opposite of its name. But all this will not change its image. The US knows that the quickest way to do this would be to disengage itself from the Israeli occupation.

Palestinian Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah

Can Al-Hurra convince us that US policy towards the Palestinians is fair?... Those managing Al-Hurra claim their channel will contribute towards creating democracy in the Arab world. These are false claims.

Jordan's Al-Ra'y

This media offensive does not differ from military, political and economic invasion and the terror... If US policy in the region was sound and convincing, they would not resort to cosmetic means to improve their image.

UAE's Al-Khaleej

Even the team appointed by the US State Department to review US public relations in the Arab world doubts it can do a successful job.

Egypt's Al-Ahram al-Arabi

The new American media campaign in the Arab world is not aimed at spreading democracy, but at hiding the truth and withholding information... We pity this satellite channel because its mission to win the trust of the Arab world will be very difficult.

Jordan's Al-Arab Al-Yawm

The US... made its debut on the media scene with force by unveiling a station that addresses Arabs in their own language, just like the totalitarian Arab and socialist states during the Cold War. The American Al-Hurra will meet the same fate that met the Israeli channel that was buried and the other official Arab TV stations.

London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi

The objective might be legitimate in normal circumstances. But seeking to achieve such objectives at a time when the US administration's declared policy is to change ruling regimes - by force, if necessary - and to reform and discipline people through promises or threats, means we can only view this network with suspicion.

Egypt's Al-Akhbar

The angry reactions in the Arab press against Al-Hurra - seeing the channel as an American plot to 'brainwash' the Arabs - are not only pathetically naive but also indicative of a tense, touchy mentality overwhelmed by conspiracy theory.

A nation scared of a satellite station, regardless of its source or colour, is a shy and timid nation. A confident nation should see such an event as adding new colour to the spectrum of freedom, whose shades are no less essential to a healthy life than fresh air.

London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat

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.

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