Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Our Greatest Shame: Oman TV

Dear readers, I do not watch television. Every once in a while I’ll see something on television that reminds me of the reasons behind my decision to boycott the stuff. Last night was one of those occasions. For various reasons, I ended up watching 20 minutes of Oman TV’s Ramadan drama series ‘Darayesh 3’. In the beginning I felt the need to be polite and make excuses for the Ministry of Information. After five minutes, I began to feel ill. Fifteen minutes later my face is green and I’ve got nausea. What a load of crap. Effin garbage. For the past what … 10 … 15 years, Oman TV has been making the same damn shows for Ramadhan. These shows usually involve a bad-tempered old man, his wife, and kids, and perhaps a couple of goats. Most stories take place in villages. Same actors every year also. Omanis are portrayed as dumb villagers who eat too many dates and who have stupid problems. Hello? When is someone at Oman TV going to finally wake up and see Oman as it is now? Oman is an amazing country. We are not stupid villagers. We are not dumb. Yet, Oman TV chooses to tell the world we are. We have become the laughing stock of television.

Take a look around. We are a country rich with different cultures (compare Ibri to Salalah? Thumrait to Muscat?), most Omanis speak some English, and a large percentage are fluent, well-travelled educated people. We are a developing country with doctors, scientists, engineers, researchers, lawyers, etc. Omanis have jobs, cars, laptops, blackberries, and are keeping up with the rest of the modern world. We are a country of thinkers, writers, bloggers (yes!), photographers, artists, and talented individuals. Just look around you! We are not mentally-retarded villagers, nor do we live in a village! Look at Oman! Highways, businesses, opera houses (soon), skating rinks, stadiums, cinemas, shopping malls (not that I approve), five-star hotels, yacht clubs, universities, restaurants, cafes, art galleries, museums, research centers, and so much more. Look how much we’ve progressed over the past 30 years! We didn’t even have a paved road back then. We didn’t have electricity or schools or hospitals. Look how much we’ve grown! It’s AMAZING how fast our country was built. Are we not proud of that? Hell we are! So what’s wrong with the Ministry of Information? What’s wrong with Oman TV? Ok, so everything is censored and we do not have freedom of speech in the media in Oman, but can we not at least have decent television? It doesn’t have to be outrageous, it doesn’t have to offend the government, and it certainly doesn’t have to offend the people of this beautiful country. Aren't there creative young people out there who studied media? Why aren't they working at Oman TV? We want fresh talent.

Tell me honestly, how many of you watch Oman TV? If you don’t, then why not?

Ok, on another note, last night another H1N1 victim passed away in intensive care at Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah. A young woman. She was buried shortly after midnight. May Allah grant her family the strength to get through this tragedy. Will her death be reported in the newspaper today? I doubt it. Oman’s hush-hush policyسياسة الهدوء

Send a prayer out to her family. May she rest in peace. Amen.


  1. I try not to watch Oman TV as much as possible but I eventually find myself forced to watch the silly stuff!! Omani Drama has been and is struggling to improve. Actors act as if someone is pointing a gun on their heads i.e natural acting talent is absolutely absent!! Same faces appear in all series shown on the Oman TV since 19xx !!
    Mr D

  2. Mr.D, how about since the 1800s? 1900s is too recent, with all due respect to the actors.

  3. May be it is the Omani mentality, it is not creative this is the maximum that it can give, the Omani actors and writers had enough time to improve their skills since 40 years but everything is almost the same since that time.... in adition to what u said the omani drama is also shouting and screaming.... thank Nadia for this post

  4. M.D,
    I have an idea, since you're involved with MOI. Send all of them to Hollywood for six months. Voila! They'll come back formatted, refreshed, and ready for creativity! :)

  5. Switch on Oman tv at 11 pm, there a series called Al Ghareeqa (most of the cast dhofaris :p )
    Its quite good, at least for Oman's standered.

    A couple of years back. there was another series called Al Faghour, it was also good.

    I came to a conclusion, that we should focus on traditional sets and stories. that we do good and what we could improve on.
    Comedy, we should let go .. we dont well in that area.

  6. OK Nadia
    I don't think MOI is going to offer the money.
    Can you please find a free scholarship in Holywood for them?

  7. Hello DG,

    i liked what u wrote above and i totally agree.

    Question, is this part of the campaign i announced yesterday in my blog


    or it is just came by chance? ;)

    keep it up!


  8. Something I was going to blog, but decided against it, just because absolutely no one will be interested, was that Oman Mobile have recently announced that you can now watch Oman TV on your mobile phones.

    About the most practical extension for this that I can think of is either for people having trouble sleeping at night, they can whip out their phones and drift off to the sleepy programming on OmanTV, or it can be used as a mobile interrogation / torture device, where unsuspecting criminals are subjected to random forced viewings of OmanTV.

    Also, mildly uninteresting, is that with the new TV studios that are being built in Al Illam in Muscat (the never-ending project) once they are completed, OmanTV will be broadcasting in HDTV! So you'll really get to experience the full effects of those Dhofari cows you love so much! :)

  9. Yes, the tragic death of a woman in Salalah has been officially acknowledged. May her soul rest in peace

  10. Bader Al Hinai, no I wasn't aware of your article but I read it now and I totally agree! After I published my post, someone sent me the link to Muawia Al Rawahi's page too and he had written about the Ministry of Information. Looks like a revolution! Obviously a lot of Omanis are pissed off about the situation at the Ministry.

    Sythe, your comment had me in hysterics. Allow me to quote you and publish that. I swear I had tears rolling down my face. 'Oman develops new torture methods. CIA to study the product. Feasible'.

  11. I wish you could've come to the arabic stand up comedy night in Muscat a few months back...

    Mabe they should do a session in Salalah next tour!

    [tell Hi! FM]

  12. Honestly, I never watch Oman TV. However in my grandmother's room it's open 24/7, why? I don't know.

    Anyway, since Ramadhan, we watch the Athan on TV and after that a load of rubbish comes on, adds for the sponsors or whatever. I could have done better on powerpoint!

    I would say that even if some people come up with fresh talent, MOI might be against their new ideas because they're seriously OLD SCHOOL and they probably have like a million rules to what they can/are allowed to broadcast, I guess that's why all the shows are the same/similar every year.

    What about Majan TV? Anyone seen that?

  13. Yeah! It's an Omani channel that is not government owned.
    Never seen it before, only it's logo.

  14. Hi Nadia, your post is one of the best i came across in a while.

    so to answer your question, i don't watch TV, not Omani not anything else, I HATE Arabic drama, switched to Asian sometime back.
    anyways, to answer more specifically. I avoid Oman TV and Oman Radio, they made me angry + say so about the Khaliji drama, I got on my nerves I HATE IT. And the ads that come after prayer, I just want to know why oh why do they keep broadcasting them, it is sad.

    Majan TV is hopeless, it is more pathetic than Oman TV.

  15. I don't understand why all this fuss about our so called "Omani Drama"..

    The problem is that we are as Omanis will never agree on what is good drama.. we come from different backgrounds, different accents even though we belong to the same country and we share the same god damn history. While the rest of GCC countries are not facing this diversity hence they are not struggling to produce a drama that is likable by all of there people but sadly I can't say the same about Oman.

    Let's just not waste time on issues like this , if good drama means actresses wearing less clothes like we are witnessing nowadays then hell, we don't need no good Omani drama!

  16. How about real Omani drama, real stories, good acting, something 'Omani'? Instead of the 'dumb villager' scenes, heavy Qu7 accents, all the shouting, the heavy makeup, the bitchy women and the fake santa claus beards? Oman definitely has some amazing stories and we should bring out and celebrate our diversity.

  17. What about Al-Ghareeqa?

  18. To tell you all the truth NO ONE at MOI WANTS OMAN TV TO GO FORWARD THAT IS THE PROBLEM the MOI is a waste of Omani RIYals.

  19. Thank you for your nice posting.
    it is really helpful to us.
    such a nice topics.


  20. Well,

    couldn't agree more on what you wrote, strangely I have been thinking about this for sometime. Usually I don't watch TV a lot, but even when I do , I don't watch Oman TV.

    I don't have a problem about having a story that happened in the village. We originally came from villages, small towns or big cities. But the thing is that most of the stories are not related to us or village life???

    I think if Omani TV cannot produce something of high standard, then they better save the budget to upgrade their staff and get more professional ones with professional equipments.

    I have seen short Videos made in SQU which are more fun and better than what you see in Oman TV ... we got talented people... but unfortuantely they don't have Wasta...

    You can only act if you're relative with the group who're acting now... otherwise no matter how good you're... they stand no Chance....

    Keep your keyboard clicking.... not Hush-Hush

  21. Oman TV is a hopeless case..


  22. I do watch it to Khalid Al-Zadjali who acts like Charlie Rose or Oprah… while he barely knows how to pronounce scientific terms and names of his guests… that gives me a kind of sarcastic pleasure …

    Sorry I am not someone who has no job but grumbling over whatever… but when someone tries to overstate himself where he does belong, he as well deserves receiving all the criticism at face value…

    A talk show host needs to be well-educated and a good reader, if not so then he should at least do some reading in the area of the guest before the show, that is better than defaming the whole channel with his stupid questions and silly jokes…. and by the way pronouncing g instead of q will not make a pathetic anchor any better… also on the traffic accidents part… acting worried and widening eye brows looks sickeningly goofy…just stop it!

    The rest of Oman TV is nothing but a pathetic place for reducing unemployment… I sometimes wonder about these people… do they have satellite connection at home like we do? Don’t they have any pride that pushes them to do better or quit their job?! I wonder!!