Huffington Post | Hanna Ingber Win | January 26, 2009 06:39 PM
Barack Obama will do his first formal interview as president with an Arabic cable TV network, ABC News reports. The interview is set to air at 11pm EST, it reports.
As special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell heads off to the region to begin work on negotiating a cease fire between Israel and the Palestinians, President Obama has sat for his first formal TV interview with the Arabic cable TV network Al-Arabiya, ABC News has learned.
Al Arabiya is a 24-hour Arabic news channel based in Dubai that broadcasts across five continents, according to its website.
With a global network of correspondents and bureaus in 40 major cities around the world, Al Arabiya has become a leading source of Arabic-language news throughout the world.
Al Arabiya is part of MBC Group, the largest news and entertainment broadcaster in the Middle East, reaching an estimated 130 million Arabic-speaking people around the world.
A 2003 BBC News profile of the network says it was one of the top-rated pan-Arab stations but "angered the US" for its coverage of the violence in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Donald Rumsfeld called the network openly hostile to US interests, it reports.
In August , US officials strongly criticised al-Arabiya for broadcasting pictures of masked men who threatened to kill members of the US-appointed governing council.
US State Department spokesman Philip Reeker judged al-Arabiya's decision "to air the remarks of these masked terrorists to be irresponsible in the extreme".