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The commentaries by Abdul Rahman Al Rashid and Adel Darwish that each addressed the recently-announced launch of the BBC”s Arabic television news channel celebrated the idea as Al Rashid argued that Arab Media organizations are in need of major improvements. To that, I agree, for the Arab media, especially broadcasting channels, needs to be developed.

Our Arab media, particularly visual media is experiencing years of irresponsibility with no objection. For example, let us look at Mehlis”s report about the videotape of Abu Ades, who claimed responsibility for the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri and how the news channel Al-Jazeera reported on the videotape, its choice of pictures to go with the report and the number of times it broadcasted the tape. We did not hear or see any commentaries concerned with what was included in the Mehlis report about Abu Ades”s mouthpiece.

It is for this reason that I express my support of the two writers in their welcoming of the Arabic BBC news channel, on the condition that firstly we know who will be in charge of the channel. This is where the main dilemma lies. If we want the new Arabic BBC channel to improve Arab media and to protect us from the Abu Ades and Minkash channel that makes heroes out of such figures, then those in charge must be competent in the field of media. We must put a stop to overrun satellite stores that sell nothing but outdated ideas.

Nowadays, we are witnessing mobility in the field of media with regards to names and faces, however ideological mobility is slow in its pace of development. Faces change but ideologies remain the same. We are fed up of media that consistently tells us that all Arab crises are caused by the Jews and Americans. We have had enough of media that states that there will be no fundamental change in the region until &#34the major crises of each nation&#34 are solved, yet there are no suggestions as to how to solve such crises. We are fed up of media that is merely concerned with seeking revenge against others.

The Arab arena is full of news satellite channels however; we are watching channels of another kind, namely, ideology-laden satellite channels. We watch Hezbollah”s channel ”Al-Manar” and the Saudi ”Al-Majd” channel, as well as a number of Iraqi channels that have been described by some Iraqi officials as Husayniyas (A Shiite center for religious education). In addition, we have the revenge-seeking channels such as that of Abu Ades (Al-Jazeera). Before this, people would refrain from official channels.

It is for these reasons that we welcome the Arabic BBC, only if it chooses to be a genuine media channel that acquires its methods from the reputation of the British Association. However, if administration is left to Arab media representatives of Arab satellite channels and Arab media associations, the very kind from which we suffer, who will manage according to their ideological orientations and use these channels as a mouthpiece through which they seek revenge from personal and regional enemies, then the new BBC Arabic channel is not welcome. We do not need or want anymore of these types of broadcasting channels as we have enough. What we need is a productive and truthful media.

We suffer today from contradictory talk from those who to CNN, will brand Osama Bin Laden a &#34terrorist,&#34 yet will appear on Al-Jazeera describing him as Sheikh Osama.&#34 We are surviving the age of broadcasting channels that are suffering from a duality of ideologies.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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