Deirdre Kline - Middle East Broadcasting Networks (U.S. government source)

An Evaluation of Alhurra Television Programming

An Evaluation of Alhurra Television Programming is a multi-method evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of Alhurra's news broadcasting to the Middle East. The study is based upon a content analysis of over 75 hours of Alhurra's news programming, as well as three working groups with over 40 Arab journalists and Professors of media and journalism studies at Universities throughout the Middle East. The USC Center on Public Diplomacy study was the first of its kind in its systematic evaluation of Alhurra's journalistic quality combined with in-depth discussions with opinion leaders in the region. The content analysis evaluated Alhurra's news programming based upon the Middle East Broadcasting Network's Journalistic Code of Ethics, a document that provides specific mandates guiding Alhurra's journalistic mission and integrity, while the expert working groups were focused on providing discussions to contextualize how Alhurra's programming was received by opinion leaders in the region.

The results of the study included that Alhurra provided a lack of news and topical programming tailored to the interests of the Arab audience, that the quality of Alhurraʼs journalism was substandard, that Alhurra's association with the Bush administration and American policy in general resulted in widespread perceptions of bias that tainted its ability to be seen as "credible" in the eyes of most of its audiences, that Alhurra's reporting was often biased in favor of the American or western perspective at the expense of the Arab perspective, that Alhurra too often relied on unsubstantiated information in its reporting, and that the broadcaster lacked a fundamental connection to the "Arab street," a prerequisite for significant viewership in today's saturated news-media environment. The report concluded by calling for significant overhaul in Alhurra's operations, suggesting that the status quo would result in a failed effort at improving understanding of American policies and culture in the region.

To read CPD's report, click here.

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