News You Really Need To See: “Nigerian Television Becomes Front for U.S. in Terrorism Fight”

“Nigerian Television Becomes Front for U.S. in Terrorism Fight”

The New York Times, June 7, 2014, p.A1

The State Department is financing a new 24-hour satellite television channel in the turbulent northern region of Nigeria that American officials say is crucial to countering the extremism of radical groups such as Boko Haram.  The move signals a ramping up of American counterinsurgency efforts to directly challenge the terrorist group, which abducted nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls in April.  State Department officials acknowledged that setting up an American-supported channel could prove challenging in a region where massacres, bombings and shootings by Boko Haram are common, and where the American government and Western educational programs are far from popular.  The group has been known to attack media organizations in Nigeria.  The new television channel, to be called Arewa24 — arewa means north in the Hausa language — is financed by the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism, and it is expected to cost about $6 million.  State Department officials would discuss the program only on the condition of anonymity, and offered sparse information about it.  But details have emerged in publicly available contracting documents and in interviews with people familiar with the effort. … The goal of the channel is to provide original content, including comedies and children’s programs that will be created, developed and produced by Nigerians.  State Department officials said they hoped to provide an alternative to the violent propaganda and recruitment efforts of Boko Haram.”

Quickie Analysis:  An interesting, fairly low-cost effort to counter terrorist propaganda.

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