Journalists skeptical over new Muslim Brotherhood TV station

Rabaa TV is set to be a “platform for freedom” that will be “focused on political issues in the Muslim world”

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Journalists say they are skeptical about the chances of success for a Muslim Brotherhood TV station set to launch from Turkey on Dec. 13.

Rabaa TV is named after Rabaa al-Adawiya square in Cairo, where a sit-in by supporters of ousted President Mohammad Mursi was forcibly cleared in August.

The station’s goal is to become a “platform for freedom” that will be “focused on political issues in the Muslim world,” the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice newspaper reported, adding that the channel will be available on Egypt’s Nile Sat.

Former Brotherhood member Kamal al-Helbawy told Al Arabia News that the launch will only add to the group’s failures, and that it is fighting a losing battle.

Abdallah Kamal, an Egyptian journalist and political analyst, said the station would not succeed due to the demise of other Islamist channels, as well as the lack of well-known and professional media personalities.

“The Brotherhood’s rhetoric is provocative, and has nothing to do with the professionalism required for TV. It isn’t offering any political solution to gain back public support or to help rethink its failure in politics,” Kamal told Al Arabiya News.

The launch is an indicator that al-Jazeera, which many accuse of being the Brotherhood’s mouthpiece, is no longer “enough for them to express their views,” he added.

“The Brotherhood is trying to increase media pressure in Egypt... especially since European and American papers no longer publish stories on it, and its PR ads and campaigns aren’t effective like they used to be,” Kamal said.

Last month, a Qatar-backed pro-Brotherhood newspaper, al-Jadeed, launched in London.

Wael Nawara, co-founder of Egypt’s al-Dostour Party and a news commentator, said Rabaa TV’s chances of success depend on how it will address its audience.

“Today there’s an exclusion of the Brotherhood, a public exclusion. It’s not only the state-owned media that silences the Brotherhood’s voices, but also private TV channels, newspapers, and even the people,” Nawara told Al Arabiya News.

If the channel repeats the same rhetoric of the group in the same style, it will be a one-way dialogue and will fail, especially if it seeks regime-change, he added.

“If the channel wants to address Egyptians, it will need to address them in the way they want. People no longer have the patience to watch pro-Islamist channels,” Nawara said.

Since the army deposed Mursi following protests against his rule, authorities have cracked down on his supporters and members of the Brotherhood, with more than 2,000 people arrested since August.

Authorities have also shut down the headquarters of the group’s Freedom and Justice newspaper in Cairo, as well as TV stations that backed Mursi.

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