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The first in the Arab world.. Learn the full story of Iraq TV | Mix

Baghdad- 67 A year has passed since the establishment of the first television station in Iraq, and it is the first in the Arab countries, after a specialized British company gifted an entire station to Iraq in 1956. And from that, television spread in the country with various programs, different departments, and a screen in black and white, then color, so where did the story begin? And where did you get to?

The beginning of the story

At the end of the royal era in Iraq, specifically in 1956, the British “Bay” company attended to participate in the British trade exhibition hosted by Baghdad, and among its exhibits was a black and white television broadcast system with a ready studio, which caught the attention of King Faisal II, who opened the exhibition, so he asked Purchasing equipment from the company and installing it at the radio station in Saqifat Al-Hadid, or what is popularly known as the “Binkla”.

The Bankla later became the headquarters of Baghdad TV, which is the oldest TV station in the Middle East and the Arab world, according to journalist and researcher Muhammad Khalil Al-Tamimi.

Al-Tamimi indicated that Adnan Rasim Al-Nuaimi was the first director of television, while Sabiha Al-Mudarres was the first broadcaster on the small screen in Mesopotamia.

Al-Tamimi said that the Iraqi government had difficulty purchasing the station due to financial and technical obstacles, and it was offered for 65,000 dinars, and the amount was almost equal to the budget of the Iraqi broadcaster for a full year. In the end, the British company decided to present the TV station as a gift to the Iraqi government.

The station consisted of 3 cameras and a 16 mm cinema machine, and the station was installed in the broadcasting house in its current location, and the mast that was able to deliver the broadcast rose to a range of 30 kilometers from Baghdad.

Some televisions have been distributed in certain areas and shops in Baghdad, so that the public can watch the programs and learn about the “wonderful device”. Among the devices is an external broadcast car that can transmit events of interest to the public from anywhere in the Iraqi capital.

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Al-Tamimi researcher told Al-Jazeera Net that the television set amazed people, aroused their attention and changed their lifestyle, as it brought together the family, united positions and topped the councils, then overthrew governments and changed opinions and trends, and despite its arrival in Iraq in the mid-fifties of the twentieth century, it spread widely throughout the country It started in the late sixties and early seventies.

political recruitment

That device – which was new to Iraqi society – faced social and legal rejection at the time, but – in return – it changed the shape of societies and enriched cultures, then made stars and was a means for revolutions and military coups.

Al-Tamimi believes that television came in a way different from cinema, despite its widespread presence in Baghdad, as it arrived in Iraq in a wooden box that is very similar to a puppet theater box, and some people were sneaking behind the device trying to see the actors inside that box, while women were They wear the abaya when the announcer appears, lest he see them while they are in their homes.

All successive Iraqi governments realized the importance of television and the extent of its influence on the public, so it was employed politically in different eras, and political discourses, resonant statements and famous trials were broadcast through it.

Despite this, television remained popular with the masses who were attached to its famous series and unique characters, such as the series “Under the Barber’s Razor” and the two characters “Haji Radi” embodied by Salim Al-Basri, and “Abousi” performed by Hamoudi Al-Harthy, then many characters such as “Abu Faris”. (Khalil Al-Rifai), “Abu Dawiya” (Rasem Al-Jumaili), and “Abdul Qader Bey” (Khalil Shawqi).

Accumulation of experience

The work of Iraqi television has evolved over time after it went through several stages, so it moved from black and white to color thanks to modern technologies, artistic projects and the accumulation of experiences to show it as best as possible, according to the current head of the Iraqi official media network, Nabil Jassem.

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Jassim told Al-Jazeera Net that the accumulation of experience from generation to generation has made qualitative shifts, “and we have been keen as a responsible department in the network – of which television is part of its institutions – to make a quantum leap in the field of private technologies, whether in terms of image or sound, through the introduction of better Types of technical equipment, including modern cameras from the best origins, or by building studios that are comparable to their counterparts on global satellite channels, with the hands and minds of themselves from within the network.

Jassim Rafd confirms that the Iraqi official media network, with new young faces, has achieved remarkable success, while viewers have noticed a clear change in the level of media discourse, so that the media of a democratic state has a responsible national discourse that cares about people’s concerns and aspirations and meets their needs and tastes.

Khairiya Habib during her preparation of the “Lens of Art” program in the early seventies (Iraqi press)

programs in memory

In its long history, Iraq TV knew many programs and they are still stuck in the memory of Iraqis, the most important of which is “Say and Don’t Say” which was presented by the linguist and historian Mustafa Jawad, and the program “Amo Zaki’s Fund” which was presented by the radio broadcaster Zaki Al-Hasani, which is a program directed to children.

And every Tuesday evening, the program “Sport in a Week” was shown by Moayad Al-Badri, and every Wednesday evening the program “Science for All” by Kamel Al-Dabbagh, and the “Lens of Art” program – which was presented by the media, Khairiya Habib – was shown on Thursday evening.

Habib told Al-Jazeera Net that her program was launched in the sixties of the last century, and it was prepared by the late Khaled Naji, and she assumed the duties of presenting it in the early seventies until 1986.

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Habib talks about the method of preparing the program at the time, as the preparer relied on drafting television materials – including news – on tapes received from abroad to the station, so that we would transcribe and prepare them.

She points out that a survey of viewers’ opinions of the program was done through e-mails received from all over the country, attributing the success of her program to being a variety and one of the pillars of Baghdad TV, along with “Sports in a Week” and “Science for All.”

70s TV

In turn, Qassem Hussein Saleh – a broadcaster and producer of television programs in the seventies while also supervising children’s programs – talked about some of the programs he presented on the screen, including the “Psychological Counseling” program as he specializes in psychology, and the program aimed to spread psychological culture.

Saleh told Al-Jazeera Net that the famous program “Beware of Despair” was switched from radio to television by order of the Minister of Culture at the time, Hamid Youssef Hammadi, but I stipulated that the director of the TV, Sabah Yassin, stipulated that the text that I was writing not be subject to the Text Examination Committee, and I had that.

As for the colleagues closest to Saleh on television, they were: the poet Ibrahim Al-Zubaidi and the owner of the “Science for All” program, Kamel Al-Dabbagh, in addition to the late Ghazi Faisal and Nihad Naguib.

Saleh lived with a number of radio and television directors, and the best of them – in his opinion – was Muhammad Saeed Al-Sahhaf, “who used to walk around the studios while I was with him. The tradition of broadcasting Fayrouz’s songs every morning.

Algeria was the second Arab country to know television broadcasting at the end of December 1956, with a limited transmission that was operating within French standards, as it was under the control of the French occupation.