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Mon 23 Apr 2007 05:12 PM

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UAE's only evening newspaper closes

Sources say licensing issues prompted the closure of Emirates Evening Post.

Emirates Evening Post, the UAE's only evening newspaper, has ceased publication because of licensing issues, ArabianBusiness.com has learned.

Staff at the newspaper, which was published by the Sharjah-based Press Centre and Art Productions LLC, received a letter yesterday informing them of the decision to cease publication.

"I have no idea [of the reason]. It's been really shocking and sudden," said a source close to the newspaper, who also claimed that staff were given no warning that it would close.

It is thought that the title was one of several newspapers in the Emirates that were told they must obtain prior approval for publication.

A three-month grace period on the ruling, which was granted in February 2007 by the UAE National Media Council (NMC), was due to expire in mid-May.

A source at the NMC said that the closure of Emirates Evening Post was down to "something irregular" about its licensing status, but denied that the NMC had forced the newspaper to close.

"We have nothing to do with it - we didn't issue any orders regarding the shutdown of the paper," the source, who asked not to be named, told ArabianBusiness.com.

"For us, they were given a grace period of three months. [For them to close the newspaper] means that there was something irregular about it."

No one at Press Centre and Art Productions LLC could be reached for comment.

The group also owns and publishes other language newspapers such as Arabia in Malayalam and Urdu Express in Urdu, according to its website.

According to UAE law, the Ministry of Information must approve all print publications. It is mandatory for media organisations to obtain approval prior to publication.

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