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Sun 25 May 2014 10:34 AM

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MBC chief says Dubai offers "complete press freedom"

Chairman says Dubai is still the best launch-pad for media broadcasters in region dominated by censorship

MBC chief says Dubai offers "complete press freedom"
MBC Action, one of MBCs English language channels

Dubai remains the best launch-pad for media outlets that wish to flourish in a region dominated by government intervention and censorship, a top media official has said.

This is one of the reasons why a large number of media outlets flourished out of the UAE and spread across the region where press are still subject to intense government scrutiny and freedom of the press is a far cry, said Sheikh Waleed Al Ibrahim, chairman of MBC Group.

Dubai Government launched Dubai Media City in the late 1990s, as part of its vision to create a knowledge cluster to transform the emirate's economy to a knowledge-based one.

"That is one of the reasons why we decided to relocate our operations from London to Dubai," he told delegates at the Arab Media Forum in Dubai.

"We launched the Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC) Group as a pan-Arab media in 1991 in London - to be able to exercise freedom of the press - as most Arab countries were not open to the idea of press freedom," he said.

"It was an uphill task initially. However, we remained committed to develop quality contents for the Middle East audiences."

He added: "We tried to enter Egypt and the government did not let us enter to protect the local television channels. However, when an invitation came from Dubai, we started to engage with Dubai government. Initially, I was reluctant to relocate as we might have to compromise on the content - fearing that we might become subject to censorship and interference."

But he said Dubai provided the solutions to MBC's problems and invited the channel with open arms to move to Dubai, assuring it "complete freedom".

"Since then, we were never asked by the government how we run our business and why we do what we do. There has been no government interference on our programme," he said.

Together with Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Knowledge Village, Dubai Studio City and the International Media Free Zone (IMPZ) - that have been amalgamated under the Tecom Investment cluster - the emirate has attracted global media and information technology brands which now contributes to the emirate's non-oil economy.

MBC Group has recently established a state-of the-art television studio in Dubai which is "much better than many studios in Hollywood" Al Ibrahim added.

Press Freedom 5 years ago

What about that New York Times edition that wasn't printed last week? Can someone remind me what did it contain?

Hisham 5 years ago

That NYT article was full of lies and half-truths and so did not get published. It is not uncommon for western media to try to tarnish the reputation of a country by publishing falsehood

Truth 5 years ago

The Funny thing here is that NYT published an article on "Human Rights" , yet it supports Israel, which has treated Palestinian harshly and decimated them. Before focusing on other country on human rights, they should see who they are supporting and what are they doing!!!

whatever 5 years ago

How do you know Hisham, it wasnt published here so none of us knows.

If full of lies, then they could have been sued yes?

Oh wait, do you subscribe to the newspaper so you can read such falsehoods?

procan 5 years ago

How will anyone no Hisham if there are lies and half truths if it is not published ? Take the word of another liar with half truths. Publish it let free persons decide what is truth .

Kunal 5 years ago

Believe me that article was a bigger embarrassment for NYU rather than Abu Dhabi, which I assume does not care too much about some South Asian laborers getting paid a proper wage or even getting paid.

Did you actually read the article?

john 5 years ago

If this is the case then why are MBC programmes censored?