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US Satellite Network Brings Mideast News to Americans

Some Americans are getting an unusual glimpse of news broadcasts from the Middle East by tuning in to a U.S. satellite network called Link TV. The non-profit network based in San Francisco offers a window on the region through its news program Mosaic.

The show, seen by several million American viewers on satellite television and the Internet, is a compilation of news broadcasts from the Middle East and the Muslim world.

Mosaic transmits news from Arabic-language broadcasters such as Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi television, with English translation.

There are also segments from networks broadcasting in English, including the Israel Broadcasting Authority and Al Jazeera English.

In Mosaic's San Francisco office, editors and translators work on the five-day-a-week broadcast.

Palestinian-American Jamal Dajani oversees the process.

"We air reports from more than 36 different broadcasters operating in the region," he says. "It covers the Arab world. It also covers Iran and Israel."

Dajani says most Middle East broadcasting was once protocol journalism, with official reports tightly controlled by national governments. All that has changed, he says.

"Now in the Middle East, we have more than 400 satellite channels operating there. You have what I call a 'war of information.'"

He says his program lets Americans see the news that people in the Middle East are watching.

"At Mosaic, really what we are doing is turning the mirror, reflecting it back here to the U.S. and saying, 'This is what people watch,'" Dajani explains. "Sometimes it's pretty confusing, because you have all these different perspectives, but it also removes the generalization about 'the Arab world.' The Arab world is not a monolith."

Dajani says viewers get a glimpse inside the Middle East and hear some of its many voices.