I posted previously
about a great little service, called Mosaic
, that provided snippets of the news from the Middle East and translated them into English, for those that don't speak Arabic or the local language in which the news is broadcast. Now, while this is amazing in its own right and points somewhat to how we will watch our tv in the future, the need for an English Language free to air News channel is an obvious one. At the end of May, Al Jazeera International
will launch its new English speaking channel to start to provide the bridge to the West. The channel will bring its new age journalism to the masses and will no doubt continue its bare bones approach to journalism thats has stirred up so much controversy since its launch
. Even with names such as Sir David Frost and Rageh Omar
due to join the channel, I believe that it will still breed controversy but is a welcome addition to an onviously vacant area.
The channel comes at a critical time and will give a much needed outward view to the West, even if Dubya doesn't like them
very much. But, I digress. I want to concentrate a little closer to home. Al Jazeera satisfies one type of audience including those who live in the UAE, but what we are beginning to find is the tipping point to the English Language is slowly drawing nearer to the point that soon, more people in the UAE will be more likely to speak English than Arabic, as a sole language. Now, what I am not saying is to get rid of the Arabic TV stations. No, what I am saying is that something is needed to compliment these channels, and fast. Increasngly business is transacted in English, the financial institutions function in English and many larger and multi-national organisations located here use English as their official language. With the influx of expatriates, a Pan-Emirate current affairs type channel, at this point in time, would have numerous benefits, and, I believe, would be hugely popular. If we consider that we rely on, let's be real, very little good quality daily written media, we are sometimes being fed undebated nonsense. Some of the radio stations promote a litle debate as do new media such as blogs, but the time has come to step up and move news and current affairs to the forefront to satisfy the ever growing non-Arabic speaking crowd. Now that the Ministy of Information is defunct, the Ministry under whose remit this would now fall could gain some serious browny points from implementing such a channel in a first real move for free speech. If Qatar can do it, so can we.