Al-Araby TV marks Egyptian revolution with its fourth anniversary of broadcasting

Al-Araby TV marks Egyptian revolution with its fourth anniversary of broadcasting
3 min read
25 January, 2019
The London-based satellite channel has played a key role in combating the disinformation spread by state broadcasters in a region dominated by government narratives.
Pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Araby TV was launched in 2015 [Al-Araby]
Pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Araby TV is on Friday celebrating its fourth anniversary on-air.

The London-based satellite channel was set up in 2015 and has played a key role in combating the disinformation spread by state broadcasters in a region dominated by authoritarian government narratives.

Al-Araby TV has found success with a combination of news and entertainment programming, notably including The Jo Show, a political satire series which has enjoyed international acclaim as a contrast to the state propaganda of rival networks sponsored by often corrupt regimes.

Channel bosses chose 25 January as a launch date in tribute to the 2011 Egyptian revolution, when the hopes and expectations of millions of Egyptians, and Arabs worldwide, were focused on an end to hardship and authoritarianism.

"We launched our channel on the same date of the revolution of the Arab world's largest nation. Our beginning was not just a beginning, it was in itself a revolution," said Abbas Nasser, director of Al-Araby TV

 
Watch a sneak peak of Al-Araby TV
right here [Arabic]

Employing more than 400 staff, the station is part of the Fadaat Media group, which also includes the al-Araby al-Jadeed daily newspaper and The New Arab website.

The group was set up with backing from Arab democrats in Qatar who wanted to see a space in the regional media world for young people to forge a path free from influence by military regimes or religious movements.

"We weren't just launching a channel, we were launching a vision," Nasser said. "We are not just ordinary journalists, we are the Arab people, their voice, their image, their hope, their pain, and their pen."

Being fiercely independent has not been universally popular among the power elites of the Middle East. Broadcasts have been blocked by the rulers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE - which network officials saw as "a badge of honour" and an endorsement of a refusal to toe a government line.

While angering governments comes with the territory for any media outlet worth its salt, Al-Araby TV has found a broad and dedicated fanbase among ordinary, everyday TV viewers, swiftly growing to become one of the most popular Arab TV networks, competing with media powerhouses with eye-watering financial backing.

"As we approach our fifth year we have to renew our commitments. Objectivity and professionalism are not just slogans for us - they are the foundation of the values which we endeavour to deliver," Nasser said.

"Let's be where we should be - for and with the Arab people."

Tune in to Al-Araby TV on the beIN Network, Channel 240, or on YouTube