Sunday, 08 July 2007
Peace TV Reaching 50 Million Viewers – Dr. Zakir Naik PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 23 February 2007

By Syed Neaz Ahmad
The Saudi Gazette 

Prominent comparative religion scholar and media personality, Dr Zakir Abdul Karim Naik was in Makkah to perform ‘Umrah last Tuesday. Saudi Gazette had an opportunity to discuss with him the contemporary situation in the Islamic world, the viewers’ response to now one-year-old Peace TV, and future multi-media programs and Islamic Research Foundation.

Asked about the response received from Peace TV viewers, Dr Zakir said that so far the response has been overwhelming. Peace TV was officially launched in January 2006 by Dubai-based Global Broadcasting Corporation. Dr. Zakir Naik and Peace TV featured in a special feature in the Newsweek magazine last year. Many considered the international focus as a kind of “recognition” by the Western media.

However, Dr. Zakir said that with high quality graphics, professional presentation and interesting programs of lectures and question-answer sessions Peace TV has made a niche for itself in the domain of Islamic Channels within a very short time. “We are reaching some 50 million viewers worldwide. In addition to PAS 10 we are also on Arab Satellite.” Asked how his multi-lingual programs on Peace TV were being received in the Arab World, Dr. Zakir said: “We are surprised that in addition to English so many in the Gulf and the Middle East understand Urdu as well.” Currently the format of telecast is some 75 percent English and the rest in Urdu. Programs include lectures, debates, symposiums, talks, phone-in and children programs.

Future plans include launch of a separate channel in Urdu, English and Chinese. When asked: Why Chinese? Dr. Zakir said: “Because Chinese speakers outnumber others. Moreover there are many Muslims among the Chinese and then there is a desire to know about Islam among the Chinese speakers. But that might take a few years.”  Asked if there were plans to launch radio broadcast as it is less costly and makes less demands on listeners’ time & attention span, Dr. Zakir said that Peace TV can soon be heard – rather seen - through satellite in far flung areas where picture signals are not available.

Plans are also at hand to launch an international magazine in English that will provide a platform to the conscientious persons living in the West – not necessarily Muslims – whose ideas and opinions do not get printed in their countries for various reasons. “There are a lot of people who want to speak, tell the truth but for this or that reason never get an opportunity or find an outlet,” said Dr. Zakir.

“As yet we do not telecast commercial advertising but there are a lot of organizations that do want to advertise on Peace TV. However, our rates are high and our advertising codes are very strict. We will only telecast “halal” advertisements. We’re negotiating with some companies.” With little or no advertising the launch, survival and development of Peace TV is a tribute to the support it is getting from well-heeled Muslims around the world. “We spent around $4 million at the time of launch and the monthly operating cost is in excess of $250,000. Alhamdolillah, with Allah’s help and support from brothers & sisters we have been able to achieve all this in a very short time. Soon we will go on BskyB and will be able to beam our programs throughout Western Europe and the Americas, Insha’ Allah.”

Dr. Zakir is confident that Peace TV’s broadcasts are destined to spread the message of Islam and help bring peace round the world.

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