Another channel attempts to infiltrate the Arab world



 
The director of the Palestine News Network (PNN) in Ramallah, Fadi Abu Sada, discusses the entry of Euronews' Arabic language service into an already overcrowded Arab media landscape.
 
On July 11, Euronews launched its Arabic-language broadcast and in doing so joined many channels that have recently done the same.

The political climate in the region and specifically the European role in the Middle East is what led to the launching of this Arabic channel, but Euronews has apparently learned little from the mistakes of others. Here, the Europeans are trying to enter the Arab world through the media, and it does not work.

Al Hurra channel, the official U.S. government-backed Arabic channel, did not fool any one in the Arab world. We know how the shells have been falling since the blast began.

The Arab world does not accept what it is fed; it questions what comes from the U.S. In our eyes, the U.S. channel was launched to convince the Arab world of its foreign policy, particularly in Iraq and Palestinian territories. This project fell flat. No one was taken in.
 
Al Hurra was not the only attempt.

We cannot forget to mention the efforts of German television Deutsche Welle, and the British Broadcasting Corporation. With due respect to DW, which is an informative channel only, and the BBC, which has had a long and steady career, they will never truly compete with other existing Arabic channels, particularly Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya!

The Russia Today news station, which tried after the death of the former Soviet Union to get back into the Arab world, did not succeed in doing so. It now does not believe it will succeed in light of media globalization, and the emergence of Arab channels that create a great deal of competition professionally.

[Editors note: Euronews originally launched an Arabic language service between 1996-1999, which it closed due to financial concerns.]


France 24's, despite its recent entry on the Arabic market, [shortly before] French president Nicolas Sarkozy took office, was confronted by a demand from the president to shut down the Arabic section. President Sarkozy has said that if CNN is English-speaking... France 24 must be French-speaking exclusively. That was a strange move, particularly considering the current French political climate and its aspirations [in the Middle East.]

And consequently it is no secret to anyone that opportunities available are scarce to news stations. Euronews does not know what it wants from the Arab viewers. Europe does not even play enough of a direct role in the Middle East for this to make sense, although France is attempting to gain some admiration by working on the Syrian-Lebanese conflict, and its success in creating a Mediterranean Union. It also seeks to play a larger role in the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis.

I do not think the media arena, especially in the Arab world, will accept any more news channels, which seem to me to be in vogue at this time. It's fashionable to have a news channel that broadcasts in other languages. This exerts influence over new audiences. But it's not working in the Middle East. No more, no less.

I don’t think that the vision of Euronews, whatever their vision is, will be able to reach a large part of the Arab world. It cannot compete, nor can it expect to succeed in marketing the foreign policy of the European Union because everyone here already knows very well what it is.

Nevertheless, I wish them luck.