Wednesday, August 24, 2005
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A recent AC Nielsen research found that exposure to US based Al Hurra channel and Radio Sawa increased by 10% from last year. Viewers' trust in Al Hurra rose in 3 Arab countries including Egypt where it increased from 70% to 92%. These are amazing numbers especially since Al Hurra received tremendous negative media coverage and skepticism upon its inauguration.
If these numbers are indeed accurate, I believe the increase in trust was a direct result of Al Hurra's correspondent in Egypt Tarek El Shami. His reports cover Egypt's political news very well. In addition, it is very clear that Tarek, as an Egyptian citizen, is sympathetic to the opposition. He once wrote an article in one of the major opposition weekly papers where he attacked the government and the entire regime after the police confiscated a tape that showed security thugs beating up protesters in downtown Cairo.
Even though Al Hurra might be the third most watched news channel (I am not sure though), it is still far behind its 2 main competitors in reporting breaking news and professionalism. The channel sometimes repeats its programs more than twice and it just lacks the sophistication of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. I am not sure why especially since it enjoys a good budget paid by American tax payers.
I believe Al Hurra managed to break the "trust" barrier a little, but it still has a long way to go to reach the standard of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya.
Source: Radio Sawa (Arabic)
Big Pharaoh on Christian Science Monitor
Check out this CS Monitor story on Egyptian blogs. This blog is listed there.