The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

TV agit-prop

The Washington Times on Al Manar and Znet on Al Hurra: they could be talking about the same thing.

There has been a spate of stories on Al Hurra recently, none of them particularly enlightening. A few weeks ago I met one of their reporters who was coming through Cairo. That person told me that the atmosphere at Al Hurra was unbearable: most of the staff are Lebanese Maronites who come from the MBC channel in Lebanon, which was closed by the authorities for being critical of Syria. Many of them come from Aounist backgrounds, after General Michel Aoun who was one of the main and bloodiest warlords during the Lebanese civil war.

Apparently they have decided to take revenge and now devote a considerable portion of their time to attacking Syria, while other areas of the Arab world -- North Africa for instance -- are ignored. They also have a tendency to promote Arab and Arab-American reporters who have a history in Arab Christian activist movements, not only Maronite but Coptic too. More than one presenter of talk shows has also reportedly shown a slight obsession with minority-related issues: for instance a 90-minute interview with

If all this is true -- and it has been confirmed elsewhere so I think it is -- no wonder no one has confidence in this channel.