Sunday, October 10, 2004


A most important development in the media sphere is this new T.V. channel called “Al-Fayhaa” that started recently transmitting from Dubai, U.A.E.; despite its humble financing and capabilities. It is able to beam only 3 hours per day each afternoon with repeats in the evening. Despite that, its popularity is skyrocketing. This station has hardly any programming ability, relying mainly on receiving calls from the public and some voice reports from inside Iraq, where they don’t even have the ability to use cameras or produce serious reports from the ground; so it is more like a televised radio station rather than a proper T.V. channel. The significant thing is the absolute freedom of the callers to say whatever they wish without the slightest attempt by the anchormen to edit or interfere, and also each caller is given ample time to express his views however humble or poorly expressed. In some way it is like the internet, a space of unedited freedom for the ordinary people to express themselves. This is quite revolutionary, since the internet is still out of reach of most people in Iraq.

And you will be astonished of what you hear, tremendous stuff. Secrets and the inner reality of the situation in Iraq are exposed through the witness of people on the ground- ordinary people. A pity that they don’t have English speaking programming, it would create a real stir in the Western world, more than our blogs, I think. It is fast becoming the forum for ordinary Iraqi people of all kinds who may not have access to the internet; the majority, I suppose. Nowadays I find myself riveted to the T.V. screen throughout the three hours evening repeat of the afternoon transmission to the exclusion of all other activities.

In short this modest amateurish effort by a group of Iraqi patriots, with financing from small Iraqi businessmen abroad is infinitely more important than all the other media that have come into being after the liberation.

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