Businessmen Target Iraqi Audience with a New News Channel
By Rasha El-Ibiary
Khoury and Rasha
interview with Mr. Botros El Khoury on which this article is
based took place in Hammersmith, London, on March 31, 2004.
With the single goal of conquering the Iraqi market, Arabic
News Broadcast, or ANB will be launched by June 1, 2004, as
the newest Arabic-language news channel, if the plans of a group
of businessmen from different parts of the Arab World come to
to Botros El Khoury, General Manager of ANB, the channel will
mainly target the Iraqi audience, as well as the wider Arab
world. "Iraq is the currently the new market, and our aim
is to explore this new market," he says.
adds that ANB is financed by a group of businessmen from Lebanon,
Iraq, Palestine, and Tunisia, and will depend exclusively on
advertisements for revenue. It will not be based only in London,
but will have centers in all of those countries.
programming will be entirely in Arabic, except for a daily news
bulletin in English, as well as a weekly talk show that will
host an English native speaker.
says El Khoury, aims to "put the people's point of view
in the news, not governments' points of view. We are all of
us unpoliticized business people, and we would like to give
the news to everybody in this world from the point of view of
normal people." ANB's specific mission, he adds, "is
to give the news as seen by people, not by governments."
not claim, however, to be any different from Al Jazeera, Al-Arabiya,
or CNBC Arabiya, or even to compete with them. According to
El Khoury, "All of us [the Arabic news channels] give the
news itself, so we are not going to be different." Concerning
the character of ANB, El-Khoury says, "the kind of personality
will be different than the others. Every news channel, such
as Al Jazeera or Al Arabiya, has its own personality."
He adds that because ANB is "run by different people, that
will create a different image."
shown on ANB will include, says El Khoury, "news bulletins
and live programs from all the Arab world. It will cover the
Arab world for the Arab and European people," as it will
be broadcast to Europe as well as Arab expatriate communities.
The main concern of ANB is to cover "the life of people."
both "news-wise and business-wise," as El Khoury put
stressed that many media stars will be reporting and presenting
ANB programs, though he refrained from mentioning names. ANB
will also depend on part-time stringers, described by El Khoury
as "a wide range of reporters" to cover different
areas of the Arab world.
expected to broadcast on both Hotbird and ArabSat, and the channel's
logo is currently found on frequency 10949 at Hotbird. TBS
El Ibiary is a PhD student at the University of Newcastle upon
Tyne, specialized in Political Communication. Her thesis is entitled
Television Coverage of the War on Terror: A Comparative Study
of Al-Jazeera and CNN in Covering the US-Led Wars against Afghanistan
(2001) and Iraq (2003).