28 October, 2020

Remote Sensing

Arabs find affirmation of their sentiments on local channels

Remote Sensing
Architect Anthony Ra'ad and his family spend several hours every day tuning in to various radio stations in offices and cars to follow the war in Iraq. At night, the Ra'ads sit together to watch TV channels bringing the Iraq war live to drawing rooms. This was true of the Ra'ads in 1991 as well, at the time of the first Gulf War.

But there's one major difference between 1991 and 2003—the Ra'ads, like others in the Arab world, no longer depend on the cnn to satisfy their hunger for news from the battlefront. Instead, they now have a bouquet of TV channels to choose from, in their language and, more importantly, reflecting their sentiments. Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi Television top their list.

Anthony takes his eyes off the riveting pictures on Al Jazeera to remark, "It's actually very neutral." His statement indicates what he thinks of TV channels based in the US and UK. The others in the living room readily nod their heads in agreement.

The popularity of the Arabic channels can't be simply ascribed to the language—Arabic—of the telecast. It's also about...


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