Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa, the flagship stations of BBG’s Middle East Broadcasting Networks, provided extensive coverage of U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech on religious freedom last week at the Islamic Society of Baltimore. Alhurra was the only Arabic-language television network to run the speech in its entirety with simultaneous translation. Coverage included reaction from local community members following his speech. An Alhurra report compared President Obama’s speech to the remarks made by former President George W. Bush following the Sept. 11th attacks when he also spoke at a mosque.
Alhurra’s flagship talk show Free Hour hosted Edward Joseph, executive director of The Institute of Current World Affairs and Dr. Sahar Khamis, associate professor at the University of Maryland, to discuss President Obama’s remarks. During the discussion, Joseph stated that President Obama’s remarks featured a message of solidarity and encouraged all people to counter extremism. Khamis stressed President Obama’s message about the importance of not equating Islam with acts of terror. She added that media outlets can sometimes contribute to false images of Muslims by portraying them in a negative light.
Alhurra.com’s coverage of Obama’s visit to the mosque in Baltimore started when the White House announced the visit. The all-news website highlighted the importance of the visit and its significance for the Muslim community in the United States. The digital team sent multiple push notifications on both Alhura and Radio Sawa apps and live-tweeted President Obama’s speech. RadioSawa.com included a photo gallery of the visit and embedded an audio report from Radio Sawa.
Radio Sawa aired excerpts of the president’s speech, as well as comments made by the White House press secretary. The show Sawa Magazine profiled the speech and included reaction from Muslim-American leaders.