One very interesting and highly viewed Middle East forum (estimated audience up to now is about 300 million, but not well known in the United States, as far as we can tell) is found at The Doha Debates from Qatar which are transmitted via BBC World and sponsored by the Qatar Foundation. Videos of the debates are available for free online.
As written at the Doha Debates website online:
“For the past three years, the Doha Debates have been providing a platform for serious discussion of the hottest issues in the Arab and Islamic worlds, striving to be both controversial and informative. They have gained a huge international following through their broadcast on BBC World – the BBC’s international television channel.“
Selected topics are debated and the audience votes for or against one side or the other of a given question. The debate participants are selectively chosen, and often represent well-known organizations and their viewpoints, for or against the Doha Debate topic. The audience is mixed.
The last Doha Debate, for example, was held on March 3rd, 2008 and broadcast by BBC World on March 8 and March 9, 2008. The topic was:
“This House believes that Muslims are failing to combat extremism” and the vote result was that “The motion was passed“.
The next upcoming debate on April 1, 2008 is:
‘This House believes the Palestinians risk becoming their own worst enemy.‘
Also that is a very controversial topic.
See a video of the last debate here.