Alhurra Television unveiled on 4 November the first part of the largest transformation the Arabic-language TV network has undertaken in its 14-year history. The transformation included an overhaul of the channel with a new look and feel to the TV network as well as changes to Alhurra-Iraq, Radio Sawa and Alhurra.com. Alhurra has doubled its number of newscasts to 12 hours each day and will have live broadcasts from studios outside of Washington, D.C. and Dubai. The channel also boasts an all new line-up of anchors.
The new progammes have extensive reporting from across the region and promises to provide in-depth analysis focusing on topics not found in other Arab media outlets such as social, cultural and religious challenges. In addition to stronger content, the relaunch has included new graphics for its programmes.
Alberto Fernandez, President of The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc., which manages Alhurra Television and is financed by the U.S. Government through a grant from the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM), an independent federal agency, said: “This is something that I set out to do my first day as president of MBN. The network now has a strong identity and can compete with the other pan-Arab networks in the region. The relaunch is just the first of many changes that will appear on Alhurra and we look forward to the coming months, as we continue to improve the content and the on-air experience of the network.”
Newscasts will report from throughout the Middle East/North Africa region, the U.S. and around the world. Alhurra will have daily newscasts dedicated to North Africa and a daily newscast focused on stories from the U.S.
Alhurra has a new line-up of programmes including:
• The Talk Is Syrian — A weekly show that analyzes, through discussion and visual elements, the developments, human crises, and overall political situation in Syria.
• Decision’s Capital — A weekly show that displays American foreign policy with insiders who shape and influence the policies.
• Islam Hurr (Free Islam) — A weekly show that focuses on enlightenment values instilling the language and adaptation of “free, moderate Islam” into daily life.
• Forbidden — A weekly show that provides a platform for silenced intellectual moderate voices and ideas whose work is banned or marginalized in Arab Countries
• Investigative Reports — A weekly no-holds barred show that highlights and encapsulates the best of original, Alhurra investigative reports produced by Alhurra’s new investigative news unit.
• Defecting Back Home — A limited run series that explores life after ISIS from the point of view of ex-ISIS fighters who address how they joined ISIS, what they saw and did, why they left, and how they are coming back to life.
• Sam and Ammar — A weekly show where two intellectuals share their unfiltered and cutting edge views of current affairs and spotlight Washington’s political and economic decisions that impact the target region.
• Debatable — A weekly show wherein the renowned Ibrahim Essa promotes critical thinking while analyzing radical Islamic ideas and raises questions on how these ideas are dictating lives and risk essential freedom.
• Gulf Talk — A weekly show that addresses current news and developments in the Gulf countries.
• Inside Washington — A weekly American current affairs programme that addresses political and social issues.
Nart Bouran, who used to head Sky News Arabia as CEO, is Senior Vice President of News, Programming and Transformation at MBN.