Middle East Broadcasting Networks
In 2017, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) turned its focus on expanding its television, radio and digital platforms to include more independent voices and highlighting topics deemed too sensitive on other Arab media outlets. During 2017, MBN also concentrated on reaching underserved audiences in the Maghreb region of north Africa, with a digital platform dedicated to the issues facing that area.
MBN opened the doors to more reformist voices who fearlessly address topics that are taboo on other media outlets. They address religious freedom, equal rights for women and corruption in the government. Alhurra’s website (Alhurra.com) commissioned some of the most noted and outspoken authors to be a part of newly created op-ed section on the website. “From A Different Angle,” includes commentary by featured writers who are journalists, intellectuals and human rights advocates from across the Middle East and the U.S. It serves as a single place where many of these new voices can be found writing about political, cultural and social issues facing the Middle East. On Alhurra Television, new guests and hosts were brought in to broaden the variety of voices and opinions that were shared on-air opening the discussions and expanding the ideas that came with it.
The network focused on investigative reporting to uncover and address issues within the region, as well as the rest of the world. In 2017, Alhurra aired exposes on the Muslim Brotherhood, an in-depth look at TV outlets in the Middle East that use hate-speak even on children’s programming, as well as Hezbollah’s influence in the region and in the U.S. Alhurra produced an hour-long documentary on the opioid crisis in America, that was followed in early 2018, by a second documentary about drug abuse in the Middle East.
As Iraq and the international community battled against ISIS, Alhurra produced a documentary series Exiting ISIS. It was a series of interviews with ISIS defectors who spoke candidly about the horrors of what they witnessed within ISIS and why they chose to escape the terrorist organization.
Following the success of Raise Your Voice, in 2017 MBN expanded its digital operations, creating the new platform Maghreb Voices. It is an interactive website that is targets Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and Mauritania. The website provides its audience an unmatched opportunity to participate in important discussions and share their ideas, issues and concerns openly and freely. It meets the tremendous need for an uncensored interactive platform in this underserved part of the world.
MBN’s television, radio and digital outlets, brought a better understanding of U.S. foreign policy to audiences across the region. With dedicated correspondents at the State Department, White House, Pentagon and Congress, Alhurra and Radio Sawa report on the latest news out of Washington and explain how it impacts the Middle East and North Africa. Alhurra regularly includes American experts to provide analysis and give viewers a fuller understanding through newscasts and discussion programs. Additionally, Alhurra was the first Arabic network to host National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster for wide ranging interviews on a variety of topics regarding the U.S.’s role in the region. Then Alhurra was once again the first Arab media outlet to host an interview with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. These interviews, and much of MBN’s Washington-based reporting is cited by other media outlets across the region.