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Saudi Arabia: What is the point of MBC Persia?

MBC is a Saudi-run satellite television company, known across the Arab world for its entertainment channels as well as Al Arabiya news channel. It has just launched a new channel called MBC Persia, on which films are subtitled in Farsi. Saudi blogger Mohammed Abdullah Al Shahri wonders whether this initiative is really what is needed.

He says:

في نفس اليوم الذي أطلقت فيه إيران تجاربها الصاروخية يوم أمس وخلقت نوع من عدم اليقين بما يمكن أن يحصل في الأيام القادمة في منطقتنا المتوترة أصلاً ، أطلقت مجموعة MBC قناة أفلام أمريكية بنكهة فارسية
On the same day that Iran launched its missile testing and created an uncertainty of what may happen over the next few days in our turbulent region, MBC launched a new Persian language channel, featuring dubbed American movies.
القناة الجديدة والتي تهتم بعرض مجموعة من أشهر أفلام هوليوود بترجمة فارسية ربما تدشن عهد جديد في مخاطبة أكبر الدول في محيطنا وأكثرها تأثيراً .. إيران . ولكنه تدشين لم يكن في المستوى المأمول ، فما هي الرسالة التي نود أن نوصلها أو ما هو الخطاب الذي نود من الفرس قراءته وهم يشاهدون لياقة هاريسون فورد في فلم انديانا جونز أو مغامرات جوني ديب في قراصنة الكاريبي !
The new channel, which features a selection of Hollywood's most famous movies, translated into Persian, may herald a new era in communicating with the largest country in size and influence .. Iran. However, the launch wasn't at the level we anticipated. What is the message we are hoping to deliver and what is the message we expect the Persians to read when they watch Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones series or Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean?
في الوقت الذي قامت فيه إيران خلال الخمس سنوات الماضية بتدشين أكثر من قناة إخبارية واجتماعية لمخاطبة العرب بلغتهم ، و بنقل وجهة نظرها في كل ما يحصل حولنا و والترويج لمشاريعها السياسية وإعطاء بعد آخر لأي خبر عن المنطقة ، كنا تائهون عن هذا الأمر ، وكأن اللعبة الإعلامية غير مفهومة بالنسبة لنا ، فلا يوجد قناة واحدة صادرة من عندنا تخاطب الإيرانيين بلغتهم وتنقل وجهة نظرنا لهم بالطريقة المناسبة ، هذا الأمر مفقود بالنسبة لنا ، وهي نقطة ضعف واضحة في تعاملنا كدول مطلة على الخليج العربي مع هذه الدولة الكبرى والمهمة .
At the time Iran has established more than one news and social channel to communicate with Arabs using our own language, over the previous five years, and was able to relate their point of view on all that is happening around us, and promote its political agendas and deliver news in their own perspective, how come we don't have even a single channel which addresses the Iranians in their language and convey to them what we think about what is happening? This is what is missing for us and it is an obvious weakness in the way we deal as countries overlooking the Arabian Gulf, with this large and important country.
كنت أتمنى لو قامت مجموعة إعلامية كبرى مثل MBC وهي مؤمنة بحجم سوق مشاهديها ممن يتحدثون اللغة الفارسية وترى أنه مربح بإنشاء قناة أكثر جدية وإستراتيجية ولكن يبدو أن هذا الأمر ليس في وارد ذهنها
I was hoping for a large media organisation like MBC, which has faith in the size of its Farsi-speaking audiences and sees that such a channel is profitable, to launch a channel which is more serious and strategic. However, this doesn't seem to be an issue of concern for us.

1 comment

  • […] page on Global Voices Online discussing “What is the point of MBC Persia?” which is apparently is a new television station launched by satelite television company MBC that […]

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