Officials with the State Department have admitted that they are bankrolling the creation of a new Hausa-language television channel in Nigeria called Arewa24.
Details of what the channel will actually entail are unclear, but it will be providing pro-US “original content,” mostly children’s programming and situation comedies. Officials say that while they aren’t hiding the fact that the channel is a project of the State Department Bureau of Counterterrorism, they also won’t advertise that fact on the channel itself.
The point of the whole thing, at least from the State Department perspective, is to “directly challenge” Boko Haram with dynamic, original programming for Nigeria’s Hausa-speaking minority.
Exactly how that’s going to work in practice is totally unclear, as though Nigeria is a nation of almost 180 million people, only about 6 million televisions are there. Even then, much of the northern portion of Nigeria, where Boko Haram is active and where the Hausa-speaking public live, doesn’t even have electricity, let alone television sets.
The $6 million project has the appearance of another attempt at trying to sneak US propaganda into the region under the guise of private media, reminiscent of the USAID “Cuban Twitter” fiasco, in which USAID spent $1.6 million creating a Twitter work-a-like for Cuba, paying people to tweet mean things about Castro, in the hopes it would lead to regime change.