The best-known, perhaps, of the Arabic news channels is al-Jazeera. This news channel was established in Qatar in 1996 and is financed by the government of Qatar. This news channel is also probably the most watched, apart from being the first Arabic channel to provide extensive live news coverage, even sending reports to previously unthinkable places like Israel. Al-Jazeera, many of whose staff originally came from the BBC, also broke new ground with its discussion programmes which looked at issues from more than one point of view and often raised subjects that had previously been considered taboo.
The other main Arabic news channel is al-Arabiya. This channel, which is an offshoot of MBC, was established in 2003 and is based in Dubai. This is, perhaps, a part of Dubai's strenuous efforts to become the main media center for the Middle East. In fact, it has initiated the Dubai Media City project for exactly the same purpose.
There's also al-Hurra and al-Manar. Al-Hurra, which means "the free one", was established by the United States in 2004 for the purpose of countering perceived biases in the Arab news media, especially the satellite channels such as al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya. Al-Manar, on the other hand, is a Lebanese-based channel that is owned by Hizbullah. Probably because of its highly controversial nature and its accusations of anti-semitism and supportive of terrorism, this channel is less widely watched as compared to al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya. However, it remains popular in some parts of the Middle East.
Now, let's talk about the Arab Radio and Television Network (ART). This Arabic-language television network was founded in 1993 and is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This private company founded by Saleh Abdullah Kamel specializes in family entertainment including music, movies, and sport. In fact, it produces over six thousand live and recorded shows every year which includes family-oriented dramas, series, plays, sports programs, music videos, and documentaries. ART is even known to have the largest Arabic movie library in the Middle East.
These, now, are the things you have to remember if you decide to watch Arabic TV online.
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