Worldcasting has obtained exclusive comparative independent television ratings that document a steady decline in Al Jazeera's popularity among viewers in Saudi Arabia over a one-year period. That country is the most important television market in the region; 70 percent of the region's television advertising is spent there.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee conceded that its recent call for a debate on Alhurra's effectiveness should have happened before America’s Arabic television channel went on the air. But the oversight committee is too late. The dispute rages daily in Washington and the Middle East, and battle lines have been drawn on two major issues.
One is who is watching Alhurra, and the other is what they see there.
WASHINGTON -- Oct. 22
Thursday night was a big night for Al Jazeera, the Arabic-language television news channel in the Middle East.
The preemptive lead story was the release of the UN report on the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister of Lebanon.
For most news organizations, it was a story worth at best three or four news reports. At Al Jazeera, editors decided this was the only story of the night.