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For immediate release
July 18, 2005
Contact:
Chad Campbell, NPR:
ccampbell@npr.org | 202.513.2304

Arab Bloggers, Televangelists, Music Videos, Reality TV and More

Five-Part "Arab Media" Series on Day to Day
Monday, July 18 - Friday, July 22


WASHINGTON - NPR midday newsmagazine Day to Day presents "Arab Media," a new five-part series looking at recent developments in the Arab media, including news coverage, music videos, reality TV, U.S.-sponsored media, bloggers and televangelists. NPR correspondent Eric Weiner provides reports from Cairo, Beirut, Doha and Dubai. The five-part series begins Monday, July 18, and runs daily through Friday, July 22.

July 18 - Arab TV News: The controversial Al Jazeera network that started the media revolution in the Arab world is still king of the hill, with more viewers than any other Arab satellite network. But a new network called Al Arabiya is now nipping at its heels. A stiff competition has emerged between the two networks, with each network trying to distinguish itself by establishing its own approach to handling sensitive stories such as hostage kidnappings.

July 19 - MTV, Arab Style: Saucy music videos are nothing new in the West, but they are in the Arab world. Arab music videos feature homegrown stars, including Muslim women sporting skimpy outfits. In addition to music videos, reality TV is also making its way onto the scene. These entertainment programs are hugely popular, and secularists say they provide a much-needed breath of fresh air. Islamists see this as yet another sign of Western influence, and have shut down at least one program.

July 20 - U.S.-Sponsored Media in Arab World: One year ago, the U.S. government launched Al Hurra, a satellite TV network broadcasting throughout the Middle East. Its goal is to help win Arab hearts and minds. It has attracted a few viewers, but not nearly as many as Arab-run networks such as Al Jazeera. Critics say it is nothing more than U.S. propaganda -- and a waste of taxpayer money.

July 21 - Arab Bloggers: As in the West, Internet bloggers are also emerging in the Arab world. Some write in Arabic, others in English, but all struggle to attract readers while evading government censorship.

July 22 - Islamic Televangelism: Though largely unknown in the West, Amr Khaled is hugely popular in the Arab world. Khaled is one of a handful of Islamic televangelists who are winning converts among young, upper-middle class Arabs by employing many of the same techniques used by Western Christian televangelists. Threatened by his popularity, the Egyptian government has banned Khaled from preaching in his own country. He now lives and continues his work from the United Kingdom.

To hear the series and find your local Day to Day station, please visit www.npr.org. If you miss any of the segments, the audio will be available on the Web site the evening it runs.

Hosted by Alex Chadwick, NPR's midday newsmagazine Day to Day airs on 145 public radio stations across the country, reaching nearly one-and-a-half million listeners each week.

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 26 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 780 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, npr.org offers hourly newscasts, special features and eight years of archived audio and information.