Six Gulf States launch a new satellite channel in English to counter “anti-Islamic propaganda” by western sources.
It was decided at the Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Bahrein that the six member states (Bahrein, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman) would launch a concerted new Arab media strategy to “rectify the image of Islam, harmed by some exterior means of communication”.
The satellite t.v. channel will broadcast only in English to reach as wide an audience as possible. The measure to launch this channel highlights the importance of the media in times of conflict. The only t.v. station authorised to operate in Afghanistan at present is Al-Jazeera, also based in the Gulf. This station has already established exchange agreements with CNN and ABC, which have had pressure put upon them by the Bush administration not to broadcast images of Osama Bin Laden.
Senior US officials, such as National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice and Defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, have used Al-Jazeera as a means to communicate the position of the USA to Arab nations. The US State Department (Foreign Office) is reported to be considering buying programme time to transmit the USA’s point of view to the potentially volatile populations in the Middle East.
During military conflicts, then Denial and Deception reach their peak, the television image is perceived by many as being a faithful reproduction of the truth. Too often, it is easy to engineer and the real picture can lie centimetres away from where the camera is focussing. However, if the image is credible, it is believed.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru LISBON PORTUGAL