Public Diplomacy


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PDI logo alhurra 07222008

(from the Broadcasting Board of Governors) website:

Alhurra (Arabic for "The Free One") is a commercial-free Arabic-language satellite television channel for the Middle East devoted primarily to news and information. In addition to reporting on regional and international events, the channel broadcasts discussion programs, current affairs magazines and features on a variety of subjects including health and personal fitness, entertainment, sports, fashion, and science and technology. Alhurra is dedicated to presenting accurate, balanced and comprehensive news.


November 10, 2005 Joint Hearing with the Broadcasting Board of Governors before the Committee on International Relations Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Video (Real Player required)]. Transcripts: Kenneth Tomlinson, BBG Chairman; Mouafac Harb, News Director, Middle East Broadcasting Networks; Andrew Kohut, Director of the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press.


In June, 2008, following a highly critical investigative review of Alhurra by ProPublica and 60 Minutes, controversy arose over the management, oversight, programming, and contracting practices of the network. The review cited problematic oversight as a result of network president Brian Conniff’s lack of Arabic language skills, and Alhurra news director Daniel Nassif’s lack of journalism credentials prior to taking the position.

The piece also highlighted controversial programming on the network, alleging that it, “has aired anti-American and anti-Israeli viewpoints, has showcased pro-Iranian policies and recently gave air time to a militant who called for the death of American soldiers in Iraq.”[1] A subsequent ProPublica article revealed that Alhurra had made payments to former Bush and Clinton administration officials, and had paid, “lobbyists and high-profile Washington journalists tens of thousands of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money to appear on the network as commentators.”[2]

As a result of the controversy, the ranking member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), called for a Congressional investigation and oversight hearings of the network on June 24th, 2008.

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