Seven Days in May: is it in al-Hurra’s prime-time lineup?

Broadcast | Familiarity
When I heard that President Bush had given an interview on Al Hurra television, I recalled that this was the Arabic satellite channel funded my you and me, the American taxpayers. So I was curious what sort of programming we were sending out this evening, or any evening. How popular the 3 month old network is has not been well reported, but early reviews derided it as poor propaganda.

The alHurra website doesn’t list a whole lot of excitement: “The World Today”, followed by “All Directions”, and then “The World Now” update, then “Sports Weekly”, another “world Now” update, and then a documentary on Afghanistan. (For that matter, I cannot find the schedules for al-Alarabiya or Aljazeera either.)

I wondered whether the network could consider showing movies this evening like The Shawshank Redemption, A Few Good Men, Paths of Glory, Seven Days in May. These movies all speak to a clear, sorely-needed theme: that higher values can overcome corrupt military/justice systems.

So I sent that question in email to [email protected]. This was forwarded to [email protected], where it had delivery problems. Al Hurra lists no phone number on their website– like they’re not in the communications business– so I called someone who has have a Virginia phonebook, Barney Frank’s office. Jeff, the congressman’s assistant who took my call, enjoyed a good laugh at the movie suggestions. He said that Frank has deep concerns as I do about the the Abu Ghraib atrocities. And he said he’d look into why Al Hurra is unlisted.

May 20th update: Here’s what I learned about the programming and oversight of AlHurra. As for the movies, my Arabic colleagues at the office assure that Hollywood movies of yesterday and today are plenty available in the Arab world, though they had no idea whether any special programming choices were made these last few weeks to show some the movies I listed above.