Dubai Takes on Al-Jazeera: Foes of the Muslim Brotherhood Unite

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

The studio once used by the al-Hayat-LBC (Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation) channel before the cancellation of its merger is now being leased by al-Ghad. (Photo: Al-Akhbar)

By: Mohammad Abdel Rahman, Sonia Zein

Published Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cairo and London – Islamist preachers launched a Twitter attack this past week against the new Arabic-language, London-based satellite news channel al-Ghad TV. One refrain dominated their tweets: “Al-Ghad TV, the channel specialized in distorting political Islam.”

Al-Ghad, whose slogan is “Today’s News with Tomorrow’s Vision,” is the media wing of the United Arab Emirates’ war against the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that has received much support from Qatar’s al-Jazeera.

Set to launch officially in March, the channel’s primary backers are UAE Deputy Prime Minister Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, along with four other investors from the Gulf and one from Egypt.

The project is the brainchild of figures such as Dubai police chief Dhahi Khalfan; Palestinian politician Mohammed Dahlan, who now lives in Abu Dhabi; and the losing candidate in the Egyptian presidential elections Ahmed Shafik, who has been in exile in Dubai since last summer.

A source close to Shafik denied to Al-Akhbar that he had a role in financing the channel.

Dahlan is the personality most closely associated with the channel, according to multiple sources in Cairo, Dubai, and London. Those same sources stressed that the format will resemble a “liberal Palestinian variety” channel.

Zaki Chehab, director of the Arab news site “Arabs Today,” was initially named as al-Ghad’s editor-in-chief, but after a disagreement with Dahlan, Palestinian journalist Nabil Darwish, previously of Radio Monte Carlo, took the reigns.

Lebanese journalist Joumana Nammour had also agreed to join al-Ghad, but later announced on her Facebook page that certain changes prompted her departure from the station.

So far, al-Ghad’s initial, experimental broadcast has been from Cairo and its London headquarters, located in the same Hammersmith district building as daily newspaper al-Hayat.

The Saudi-owned al-Hayat suffered from a financial crisis that resulted in a consolidation of its staff to one floor, allowing it to rent out its other floors. The studio once used by the al-Hayat-LBC (Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation) channel before the cancellation of its merger is now being leased by al-Ghad.

In Cairo, pilot shows like “Sabah al-Ghad” (Tomorrow’s Morning); “Funoun” (Arts); and “Malafat al-Ghad” (Tomorrow’s Portfolios) are being filmed. The inclusion of arts and drama programming shows that al-Ghad is not strictly a news channel. Yet will it be able to compete with the Muslim Brotherhood on the media front?

Many Egyptian TV presenters, such as Hatem Haidar, Mona Abu al-Gheit, Shiraz al-Wafai, and Shaimaa al-Sibai have already transferred to al-Ghad. Al-Ghad’s Cairo staff refrained from making any statements, as the final touches were being put on the channel’s studio inside the Media Production City.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

It kills me that even when there is an institution with half-decent objectives, it is filled with corrupt and corrupting personalities, like Dahlan. The enemy of my enemy is definitely not my friend, particularly in this case. The struggle continues...

DahlanTV = P[r]oxyZionistPuppetTV

for short, let's just call it PZP.TV

";0))

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