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Mid-East Realities - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - 24 June 2004: More and more the British Broadcasting Corporation, the once-truly-famed BBC, is allowing itself to be dumbed down and twisted into contortions. The dumbing down aspects are more and more evident these days on the feeds the BBC provides by special contract to the PBS network in the U.S. These broadcasts are now accompanied by considerable corporate advertising coupled with financial subsidies and political news 'guidance' from the Americans. And when it comes to matters Middle Eastern the BBC for America has clearly succumbed to intense pressures to extensively and repeatedly interview analysts themselves in the pay of the Israeli/Jewish lobby and the Council on Foreign Relations - notorious among them Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, and Judith Kipper. Now this latest British Foreign Office gambit to essentially hire and use the name of the BBC to 'compete' with Al Jazeera and other Arab-world media, something the American State Department and Congress have also done since 9/11 by creating Congressional fully-funded new Arabic media to broadcast to the people in the Middle East from the U.S. on both radio and T.V.

BBC to Launch Al-Jazeera Competitor

LONDON (AP - 24 June 2004) - The British Broadcasting Corp. said Thursday it will launch a 24-hour Arabic-language TV news channel to compete with the Qatar-based satellite station Al-Jazeera.

The channel will be broadcast across the Middle East and Europe.

The new channel's $50 million in annual costs will be covered by the Foreign Office, which also provides funding for the BBC World Service's radio network.

The BBC is hoping to rival Al-Jazeera, which has aired many of Osama bin Laden's speeches and has been accused of anti-Western bias.

``After discussions about the changing media scene in the Middle East, and in the light of the growing impact of regional satellite TV services in Arabic, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office asked the BBC World Service to develop a proposition for a BBC Arabic television service,'' the BBC said.
The channel will offer a mix of news, information, discussion programs and documentaries, the network said.

Most programs will be broadcast from London but the channel will have staff based across the Middle East.

The venture follows the recent launch of the U.S. government-funded Al-Hurra TV station, which has been denounced by some Muslim clerics as ``propaganda.''

The BBC ran an Arabic channel in the mid-1990s but closed it after two years of operation when its backers pulled out.

The BBC is publicly funded but operates independently. It broadcasts in dozens of languages, including Arabic, on its radio World Service.

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