Findings in a new U.S. Senate report that questions the effectiveness and costs of continuing Alhurra are leading to renewed calls for congressional hearings on the government-run satellite channel and the broadcasting agency that oversees its work.
Alhurra, an Arab language station that broadcasts out of a studio in Springfield, Va., has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $700 million since it was set up by the former Bush administration in 2004 to promote American foreign policy in the region. It has been the target of a string of negative reports and assessments and was the subject of a joint investigation by ProPublica and CBS News’ "60 Minutes".
One of the central findings in the Senate report released last week describes Alhurra as little-watched and expensive, with an annual budget that surpasses the combined funding for all government broadcasting into Asia, Cuba and Iran.
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- Cable from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to the Secretary of State (PDF)
"Al Hurra's slow response to fast-tracking events...has hurt its ability to attract a wider audience."
- Congressional Research Service Report (PDF)
The Middle East Television Network: An Overview
Aug. 17, 2005
- GAO Report (PDF)
Management of the Middle East Broadcasting Services Could Be Improved