Competing voices in the Arab world

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[cairo] The U.S. government-funded TV ad campaign to improve the image of the United States in the Arab world will be up against new Arab voices. Qatari-based Al-Jazeera confirmed plans to start an English-language version of its 24-hour Arabic-language news channel in the first quarter of 2003 in Europe. An Al-Jazeera spokeswoman said the English-language format is attracting interest from advertisers. In Egypt, where made-for-Ramadan series are common, a 30-part series began airing on state TV on Nov. 6. Called "Horseman without a Horse," the series draws on a 19th century Russian tract that alleged a worldwide Jewish conspiracy to control the world. In Arab countries where the U.S. government campaign is running, ad executives don't anticipate much change in anti-U.S. sentiment. "As the locals stand, anything that is done by the West has got to be bad," said Bob Smith, director, Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, Jakarta. "Total denial has now set in."
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