News Corp plans for Arab content spark discussion, speculation.

Posted: 14 Mar 2010   Print   Send a link
"Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has ambitions to produce Arab content to serve 335 million people in the region and abroad, helped by its partnership with Saudi-based media group Rotana. ... 'To be frank, Rotana does not really need our financing. We are partnering with Rotana for something more ambitious: to tap into Arab talent and ultimately produce original Arab content for market both here and abroad,' Murdoch told the conference." Georgina Prodhan, Reuters, 9 March 2010.
     Chairman and chief executive of the News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, is calling on Arab countries to stop putting restrictions on their media. His comments were made at a high-profile summit currently taking place in the United Arab Emirates that aims to portray the country as a tolerant, cultural hub. But critics say government crackdowns on freedom of expression are increasing. ... "'Markets that look to distort their media end up promoting the very panic and distrust that they had hoped to control,' said Murdoch. 'Certainly, each nation and culture has a right to insist that the people they allow into their countries to do business respect their national values and traditions. This is best administered, however, with a gentle touch.'" Phillip Walter Wellman, VOA News, 10 March 2010.
     "Talk about waving a red flag: before giving his keynote address to audience in Abu Dhabi and saying there should be less media censorship in the country, Rupert Murdoch announced that News Corp, the owners of Fox News, would be opening an office in Abu Dhabi in April." Scott Shuey, Gulf News (Dubai), 11 March 2010.
     "The 'moving' of some of Murdoch’s television satellite channels from Hong Kong to Abu Dhabi is neither an innocent decision nor an economic one. It is the result of a series of restrictions set in place by the legislative bodies in China, which always showed reservations and objections to what was being broadcast by Murdoch's network. It considered some content a threat to China’s national security and forced Murdoch to accept some interference in the content that was aired. This explains why he has now chosen a more flexible and less harsh environment to serve as a new starting point without any nuisances or significant competition. His next step will be to Arabize the content of his programs and I do not mean by dubbing films and soaps into different Arabic dialects. I think his main concern will be news and documentaries, as 'this is where the real game is,' said one observer in his analysis of Murdoch’s move. The Muslim experience with Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and The Times emphasises that they are not objective mediums and they have their own method and ideology that they are keen to spread. And today, they are right on our doorstep!" Hussein Shobokshi, Asharq Alawsat, 13 March 2010. There has been speculation about an Arabic Fox News channel to compete with Al Jazeera, but no announced plans by News Corp.