Saturday, February 14, 2004

:: Al-Hurra TV has started broadcasting today at 6:00 pm Baghdad time. This channel is American in origin, but broadcasts in Arabic and has a major office in Iraq.
American information officials stated that this channel will be completely independent and the channel staff will not be subjected to any pressure from the government, so that they will be completely free to tell the truth and show what’s really happening to the Arab audience without exaggeration or manipulation and without being affected by political pressures.
The first program I watched on Al-Hurra was a conference among 2 of the channel officials (who are Arabic Americans) and some Arab journalists and editors representing other Arab and American media. The conference was about the credibility and the desired role of the channel. The channel officials stated that the main goal of the channel is to bridge the gap between the American people and the Arab people, to make both nations' people understand each other, eliminate the feelings of hatred that were planted by some governments and some Arab information sources, and also to tell the news and handle the events and issues (especially those related to Iraq and the Middle East) with high objectivity.
I liked the program and the way the host managed the conversation, and I hope that Iraqis will find time and will to watch this promising channel.

:: Still talking about media, another Iraqi satellite channel (Al-Deyar) will start broadcasting a test transmission next Sunday (on Nile sat and hot bird). This new channel will provide a variety of programs: social, cultural, political and news reports, and of course entertainment programs.

:: In the last week, I noticed that the new Iraqi army soldiers are patrolling (on foot) the streets in Baghdad and other governorates. The new thing is that those soldiers were -for the first time- not accompanied by coalition soldiers, which left a good impression among Iraqis that soon Iraq will have his efficient, free and independent new army. This, together with the growing count of the IP and the ICDC and their obvious hard work and active presence in the streets is strengthening the belief that the dark clouds of terrorism will soon fade away.

:: Electricity has improved considerably since last week. The outages have been reduced from 12 hours/day to less than 8 hours/day and this is in Baghdad only, while in other governorates the electricity is almost continuous with an average of 2 hours of outage/day.

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