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Wed 6 Feb 2008 01:53 AM

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Saudi TV to air Shura sessions

Minister of culture reveals plans for a new television channel with 'serious' programming agenda.

Saudi TV is to launch a fifth channel, with a ‘serious’ programming agenda that will include live broadcasts of Shura council sessions, the Saudi minister of culture has revealed.

Iyad Amin Madani announced the move on Sunday following a closed-door discussion with the Shura Council, the Saudi Gazette reported.

According to Madani, the discussion touched on the Ministry of Culture and Information’s 2006-2007 report which said the Saudi media was “weak, unable to counter foreign media attacks and also ineffective in generating a sense of belonging and patriotism”, the report said.

The minister also ruled out any immediate move to permit press organisations in the country to go public and convert into joint stock companies, but said it could be considered in the future.

Shura Chairman Saleh Bin Abdullah Humaid said press organisations in the kingdom currently generate around 3 billion riyals in revenues, and that there was room for more publishing houses which could help ease unemployment by providing work for Saudi nationals.

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