Arab News launches special US elections radio show

Arab News launches special US elections radio show
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Updated 06 October 2020

Arab News launches special US elections radio show

Arab News launches special US elections radio show
  • Weekly broadcast will interview key figures and focus on issues and news in Arab American community

LONDON: Arab News announced the launch of its radio show covering the US elections, “The Ray Hanania Show,” hosted by its US special correspondent Ray Hanania, on Tuesday.
The weekly show – found on WNZK AM 690, based in Detroit and broadcasting throughout Michigan, Ohio and Southeast Canada – runs every Wednesday morning for an hour at 8 a.m. EST (1 p.m. in London, 3 p.m. in Riyadh and Jerusalem, and 4 p.m. in Dubai) as well as the second Friday of every month through the week after the Nov. 3 general election.
For the approximately 200,000 listeners who tune in to the radio station each week, as well as thousands of online listeners, the show can also be listened to online and on the Arab News Facebook page.
“We’re focusing on the election and on election politics, and I am hoping to look at congressional races and how Arab Americans will be voting and what issues they feel are important,” Hanania said.
“Each week, the show will examine issues and news in the Arab-American community and talk with activists and community leaders as well as with candidates and newsmakers,” he added.
Guests interviewed include Avi Berkowitz, US President Donald Trump’s special adviser on Middle East negotiations, as well as Arab News’ New York correspondent Ephrem Kossaify.
Syrian American journalist Laila Al-Husini, who founded US Arab Radio in 2005, said she has seen a growing interest among Arab and Muslim Americans in US politics and that Hanania’s weekly contributions have helped to educate and empower them.
“Hanania brings professional journalism to radio and to the Arab and Muslim community each week on US Arab Radio, and we are excited by the sponsorship of this special Arab News election report featuring his perspectives, guests and interviews every Wednesday,” Al-Husini said.
“There are so very few Arab voices on radio not only educating Arab Americans but the mainstream American public, too. That’s why this political discussion program is so important. We are excited to have it on our US Arab Radio Network.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• For the approximately 200,000 listeners who tune in to the radio station each week, as well as thousands of online listeners, the show can also be listened to online and on the Arab News Facebook page.

• Upcoming guests include former US Ambassador to Morocco Ed Gabriel, who is spokesman for the group “Arabs for Biden,” as well as Arab-American activist and writer, Dalia Al-Aqidi, who is a supporter of President Trump.

Hanania explained that radio is exciting because it allows the host to interact directly with the audience in a way that is difficult to do on television and in print – and it is instantaneous.
“Radio adds an important facet to Arab News’ expansion of its coverage on the US. It’s live and interactive and more person-to-person. Listeners get involved and can call in during the show to ask questions,” he said.
Upcoming guests include former US Ambassador to Morocco Ed Gabriel, who is spokesman for the group “Arabs for Biden,” as well as Arab-American activist and writer, Dalia
Al-Aqidi, who is a supporter of President Trump.
Hanania, a seasoned reporter and radio host, used to host a mainstream weekly program on WLS AM Radio in Chicago every Saturday and Sunday morning, in which he discussed mainstream regional and national politics and issues during his time as a Chicago City Hall reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1977 to 1992.
Later, he took over a mainstream weekday morning show on WJJG 1530 AM Radio in Chicago from 2003 to 2009.
He then moved on to host a radio show in 2016 on the US Arab Radio Network, run by Al-Husini, which broadcasts Arabic and English language programs focused on Arab and Muslim communities every morning Monday through Friday from 8-9 a.m.
The radio station has other Middle East-focused programs throughout the day and has a significant audience in the Greater Detroit region.
“Most other programs generally focus on Arab American culture and music,” Hanania said. “My radio shows always focuses on politics, government and Arab American activism.”


Twitter faces a rocky path under Turkey’s new social media law

Twitter faces a rocky path under Turkey’s new social media law
In this file photo taken on October 26, 2020 shows the logo of US social network Twitter displayed on the screen of a smartphone and a tablet in Toulouse, southern France. (AFP)
Updated 19 January 2021

Twitter faces a rocky path under Turkey’s new social media law

Twitter faces a rocky path under Turkey’s new social media law
  • YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have faced fines in previous months for not complying with the new law

ANKARA: Turkey’s advertising ban for social media platforms with more than 1 million daily users that have failed to establish a local representative office in the country came into force on Tuesday.

As of Jan. 19, nobody will be allowed to advertise on Twitter, its live-streaming app Periscope and image-sharing app Pinterest, leading to a substantial loss of revenue for these platforms.

Their bandwidth will also be reduced by half in April and by 90 percent in May, leading ultimately to a total blocking of access.

On Monday, Facebook announced that it would appoint a local representative in Turkey, in compliance with the country's draconian social media law that has been criticized as a powerful instrument of state censorship of online content.

Facebook said that it might withdraw its local representative if he or she faced political pressure.

Last month, YouTube decided to abide by the new law that gives Turkish authorities the opportunity to remove so-called “sensitive” content from social media platforms rather than blocking access.

YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have faced fines in previous months for not complying with the new law.

“Advertising on Twitter hasn’t been very popular among advertisers. However, especially for NGOs and political parties, advertising on Twitter was thought to be a meaningful device,” Sarphan Uzunoglu, a digital communications expert from Istanbul Bilgi University, told Arab News.

Uzunoglu thinks that rather than classical market actors, governmental and non-governmental actors will be affected by this new situation while campaigning.

The Turkish government considers foreign social media platforms bypassing local oversight an example of “digital fascism.”

The new social media law will expose users to the risk of arbitrary arrest and prosecution over their online posting as their private data can be handed over to Turkish authorities on request.

Right defenders have asked all international social media companies that established a local representative office in Turkey to tell their users how their right to freedom of expression will be guaranteed.

Compared to other platforms that complied with the new law, Twitter’s share in the advertising market is limited, Uzunoglu said.

“However, Twitter is the most political platform among them and it is intensely used by journalists who are under the government’s oppression on a regular basis. So Twitter, in the end, is a battlefield. I find their decision to resist for now so valuable,” he said.

In Turkey, where the mainstream media is almost completely owned by pro-government conglomerates, social media platforms have become a frequent source of information for citizens, who also share their views on political issues.

According to the latest Dimensions of Polarization in Turkey 2020 Survey conducted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and Istanbul Bilgi University, online news portals (57 percent), as well as Facebook and Twitter (36 percent), have turned into the primary information sources for Turks.

“This law and its application with these fines and bans are problematic,” Kemal Kumkumoglu, a lawyer specialized in digital technologies, told Arab News.

“First of all, this law does not provide a democratic aim or proportionate measures. For example, the provision which allows removing user content could be considered an Orwellian tool since it offers government (a way) to create a digital environment free from discussions or criticisms about the government actors or institutions,” he said.

On the other hand, for Kumkumoglu, although it is a legitimate expectation on the government’s side to appoint local representatives for social media platforms for law enforcement and taxation purposes, the path that the government has been following endangers the fundamental rights of citizens.

“This commercial ban and the potential cut on bandwidth will affect the freedom of expression and freedom of trade of the large portion of the population who enjoy these rights mainly with these platforms,” he said.

Twitter released its Transparency Report in January, in which Turkey was ranked as the world leader in the categories of combined requests, court orders and other legal demands, accounts specified for closure, and accounts and tweets withheld.

Kumkumoglu considers the social media law and its gradual implementation on social media platforms a “double-edged sword.”

“It is true that the citizens should not be left alone concerning the digital problems they encounter. However, pushing citizens into social media platforms that are put under the constant pressure of huge fines is not an ideal solution. The rule of law requires addressing such issues with a systematic and democratic approach, which is unfortunately not the case in Turkey.”

On tweets withheld by Twitter, Turkey still tops the list with 12,135 tweets out of 28,542 tweets withheld in 2020. This means almost 42 percent of the tweets withheld globally by Twitter came from Turkey last year.