On the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) provided its Arabic-speaking audience with special live and comprehensive programming commemorating the tragic day and examined the continued fight against terrorism. No other Arabic news channels offered live coverage of the ceremonies at the White House and the Pentagon.
“The World Against Terrorism” was the theme of Alhurra’s special programming which started one week before the anniversary. This included a series of reports focusing on President Obama’s policy towards fighting terrorism and the demands for a firm foreign policy approach. The network’s daily political talk show Free Hour discussed President Obama’s address to the nation in which he outlined his plan for combating the ISIL terror group. Alhurra also aired a discussion program comparing Al Qaeda in 2001 and present day ISIL, examining how terrorism has evolved and what can be done to counter it with political analysts and an Islamic movements expert.
On September 11, Alhurra provided three hours of live coverage starting at 8:00 a.m. (EDT). The coverage carried the remarks of President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel with simultaneous translation, along with updates from correspondents at the White House, Pentagon and overlooking Freedom Plaza in New York. Alhurra’s coverage included interviews with White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Reps. Charles Boustany (R-LA), Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Jim McGovern (D-MA). The coverage also included interviews with experts from Washington, Cairo, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and London.
Alhurra’s daily magazine program Al Youm (Today) broadcast live from New York and interviewed families of terrorism victims from the US, Algeria, Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon. Al Youm also produced a series of reports on the role of moderate Muslims in confronting terror ideology, and it connected with its viewers through social media, asking them to post messages and tweet photos on how terrorism impacted their life.
Radio Sawa marked the day with special reports and analysis from the Middle East and the United States. The network’s Free Zone program hosted a special titled, “Does Religion Promote Violence?” during which a sociology professor suggested people look for ways to actively promote peace in the world, instead of looking at who is to blame. On the eve on 9/11 Sawa Magazine interviewed experts and analysts about whether ISIS could lead to another attack on American soil.