New Iraqi channel launched to help fight propaganda Filed on November 11, 2004

AJMAN — The Iraqi satellite channel Al Fayhaa, launched in Ajman recently, aims at providing accurate, objective, timely and comprehensive news and information to help Iraqis learn how to use their new-found freedom as their country moves towards democracy.

“Since the fall of Saddam Hussain, it’s quite clear that the Iraqis are receiving Arabic propaganda led by giant satellite government and non-government TV stations, such as Al Jazeera,” Mohammed Al Tai, General Manager of the channel told Khaleej Times.

"These Arabic TV stations are broadcasting information which is both inflammatory and alarming, inciting hatred and violence among the Iraqis against the West and coalition forces. It’s a media battle and at this point the Iraqis are alone and unarmed because there is no independent TV station to broadcast material representing different points of view," he said.

He added that Al Fayha station aimed at supporting the Iraqi people in this media battle by providing accurate, objective news and information to help Iraqis learn how to use their new freedom to move towards democracy.

“Freedom of information is essential to promote democracy and keep a democratic system of government functioning,” he said. “Providing freedom of information lies at the heart of the Al Fayhaa TV mission. An enormous responsibility comes with these challenges that we as journalists working for Al Fayhaa TV must shoulder. We have to do our job in such a way that we could win our audiences over from other TV stations and distinguish ourselves from the competitions,” he added.

According to Al Tai, Al Fayhaa station has two main theme — the first is post-produced programmes which could be anything from documentary to factual programmes, fly-off-the wall and news features; the second is the daily live programmes including news bulletins, Press reviews and magazine clips. A ‘Good morning Baghdad’ is an example of such a show. The difference between the themes is that the first one is critical, format-based and regularly produced while the second is based on research and retain some creative elements. Thus Staffing and flow chart of production between the two themes are also different. Al Fayhaa TV is among the top Iraqi channels according to the Iraqi newspaper and web sites researches.

He pointed out that Al Fayhaa is being funded by Iraqi businessmen concerned about Iraqi people needing to learn about freedom and democracy. Some of its programmes are being broadcast from Dubai Medica City and some from the Ajman TV studios, he added.

Most of the new programmes to be broadcast soon will educate Iraqis about the elections, opinions, freedom and democracy specially since there are around 60 active political parties publishing 161 magazines and newspapers.

There is a special programme titled “Behind the Bars” which will interview those Iraqi people who were tortured by Saddam Hussain to let them narrate their stories of suffering in the prisons. These people will also include women who were raped and abused by the sons of Saddam.

Other programme titled Iraqi Testimonies which will scandalise all of Saddam's 45,000 crimes in Abu Ghraib prisons that were not talked about in any kind of media. It will also show the Al Hillah great mass grave which contains about 11,251 dead bodies of children, women and men as well as the new 62 mass graves discovered recently in Karbilla and other southern areas.

The two hours “Freedom Space” a programme which is being broadcast to communicate with people in various districts in Iraqi as well as the Iraqis around the world to express their view. As the channel is new, it is now working only for six hours. It's news and productions sections are under-formation.

Afkar Abdullah

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