Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN)
Mission: To provide objective, accurate, and relevant news and information to the people of the Middle East about the region, the world, and the United States. MBN supports democratic values by expanding the spectrum of ideas, opinions, and perspectives available in the region’s media.
Operations: MBN is a multimedia organization that enables the U.S. to communicate directly with people of the Middle East in Arabic.
- Alhurra Television-A 24/7 satellite television network available in HD and SD throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It broadcasts on free-to-air satellites, used by more than 90 percent of the region to get their news and information.
- Alhurra –lraq Television-A 24/7 television network available in SD via satellite and terrestrial transmitters throughout Iraq, as well as the rest of the Middle East. Its prime time schedule is Iraq-specific.
- Radio Sowa-A 24/7 radio network available on FM (with a few AM transmitters) throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
- Digital– MBN has four websites (Alhurra.com, RadioSawa.com, AfiaDarfur.com, and the Raise Your Voice website-lrfaasawtak.com), 21 Facebook pages, 15 Twitter accounts and three Instagram accounts.
- Afia Darfur- A daily 30-minute radio broadcast that is available via shortwave to reach the Darfurian refugees in Sudan and Eastern Chad.
Content: MBN’s unique content focuses primarily on news and information about the region and the United States and topics that support U.S. foreign policy and American values. Areas heavily reported on by MBN include:
- Countering Violent Extremism-Looking at life after ISIS and how to prevent extremism in the region.
- America and American Values-The only Arabic-language network with dedicated correspondents at State, White House, Pentagon and Congress; as well as a team of reporters that travel the country to show America’s pluralistic society.
- Reporting on stories highlighting human rights, freedom of speech, female empowerment and religious freedom.
Locations: Headquartered in Springfield, Va., MBN has bureaus in Dubai, Baghdad, Erbil, Cairo, Jerusalem, Beirut, Rabat and Washington DC. The media organization also has reporters across the Middle East, North Africa, Russia and Europe.
Audience: The MBN platforms have an unduplicated weekly reach of 26.4 million people.
Impact: In addition to audience numbers, MBN’s broadcasts and digital reports regularly impact on the lives of the audience. A few examples include:
- Stories that are reported on during the Alhurra-lraq newscast have generated actions by the government.
- Alhurra and Radio Sawa are frequently cited as a source of news in the Arabic press.
- Qualitative studies have found that things people see on Alhurra have changed their thinking about extremism and ISIS.
- Residents in !SIS-controlled areas reach out to the call-in shows to say this is the only media outlet where their voices can be heard.
RAISE YOUR VOICE
Raise Your Voice (lrfaasatak) is a campaign, launched in 2015 in response to the rise of extremism in Iraq. It is a multimedia initiative on television, radio and digital). A digital Raise Your Voice campaign, targeting the Maghreb, has been approved and will be operational in 2017.
Operations: Raise Your Voice currently consists of four television programs on Alhurra-lraq, a radio call-in show on Radio Sawa’s Iraq stream, a website (lrfaasawtak.com) and Facebook page.
Content: Each of the programs/platforms encourages Iraqis to express their opinions about the underlying causes of extremism. They focus on solutions to rebuild Iraq and preventing extremism from tearing apart the country. They include radio and television call-in programs; a monthly town hall meeting that allows Iraqi citizens to speak to political and civic leaders; a program that highlights what Iraqis are doing to rebuild their country and a program from lrbil that highlight the plurality of Iraq.
Impact: Raise Your Voice content has been retweeted by the State Department and Centcom accounts; Raise Your Voice Community Managers (along with other readers) engage with pro-lSIS sympathizers by challenging their beliefs; consumers of Raise Your Voice content have remarked that this is one of the only media outlets where they can freely express themselves and that highlighting stories not being told on other media outlets.