As soon as the news broke about the terrorist attack on the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Alhurra Television went live to give viewers an up-to-the-minute account of the deadly attack and the manhunt to track down the killers. Alhurra quickly moved its London-based correspondent to Paris to report first hand on this tragic story. Throughout the week, the television network had live breaking news coverage during the three days of deadly attacks, as well as the historic unity rallies in Paris and across France denouncing terrorism.
In addition to news reports, Alhurra’s Al Youm focused on the reaction of Muslim groups denouncing extremism. Interviews include a leading Azhar Imam from Cairo who called for Islamic institutions to lead the fight against terror and Saudi Shura Council member Dr. Zoahier Alharthy who discussed what Saudi Arabia is doing to fight terrorism. In the days following the attack, Al Youm interviewed a representative of the Grand Mosque in Paris, who stated that Muslims in France will focus on building peace. The program also featured interviews with cartoonists and newspaper editors in the Middle East who spoke of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo. Al Youm also interviewed several participates of the unity rally, who discussed why it was important to participate in the gathering including Imam Galen, the head of the French International Congress for Peace.
Alhurra’s daily talk show Free Hour dedicated several episodes to the events in Paris and included French, Saudi, Lebanese, British and American experts to discuss the attacks and the importance of freedom of expression. Alhurra’s Special Report delved into terrorist acts that are committed by ‘lone wolves’ vs. those done by larger terrorist organization including a discussion with an Islamic groups expert, an American political science professor and a British analyst. Special Report also included reports looking at the psychological impacts of terrorist acts on a community. While 30 Minutes focused on the Arab world’s reaction to the deadly attacks.
Eye on Democracy delved into freedom of expression and religion including an interview with Fatema Naoot, an Egyptian poet who has been accused of apostasy due to her critical views on Islamic practices. She defended her beliefs and condemned anyone who accuses her of blasphemy. While human rights activist Amena Bent Al-Moukhtar spoke about Mauritania’s decision to deliver the first death sentence for apostasy since 1960. Blogger Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed was sentenced for writing an article deemed blasphemous of Islam. Al-Moukhtar demanded he not be executed and stated those who called for the death penalty were extremists.
The network had extensive coverage including reaction from the U.S. Alhurra carried Sec. Kerry’s condemnation of the murders live with simultaneous translation; as well as President Obama’s remarks that the United States stands by France.
Radio Sawa’s coverage included excerpts from comments made by President Obama, Sec. Kerry and White House Press Secretary Joshua Earnest; as well as interviews with journalist Christopher Dickey and Le Monde’s Alain Greche. The radio network also interviewed Ghaleb bin Sheikh, President of the World Conference of Religions for Peace in France. Sawa Magazine examined how the attacks in France will impact terrorism, extremism and Islamophobia in Western countries. In another episode, Sawa Magazine interviewed a spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry about the importance of the unity rally.
MBN Digital covered the Paris attack across digital platforms using Alhurra and Radio Sawa original reporting, social media and wire reports. Twitter updates were published throughout the day. Alhurra.com’s coverage included a report looking into what is known about the terrorists that committed the attack, while RadioSawa.com featured reaction from social media and asked readers if they thought attacks like the one in Paris hurt the image of Islam. Alhurra.com also reported on the U.S.’s plan to host a summit to fight extremism.