Tags: Murdoch | media | censorship | Arabs

Murdoch Tells Arabs to Halt Media Censorship

Tuesday, 09 Mar 2010 10:42 PM


ABU DHABI - Media mogul Rupert Murdoch on Monday urged Arab leaders to end censorship, cut regulation and foster creativity in a region with vague media laws and low tolerance of critical press coverage as his firm invests heavily in the Middle East.

"In the face of an inconvenient story, it can be tempting to resort to censorship or civil or criminal laws to try to bury it," Murdoch, chairman and chief executive News Corp said at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, a three-day event that has brought together global media titans to the UAE capital.

The Times of London, a newspaper owned by a unit of News Corp, was taken off shelves in the UAE in November 2009 after it featured a double-page spread showing Dubai's ruler sinking under his emirate's vast debt. It was back on shelves a few days later.

The critical, negative coverage Dubai received from the international press prompted its ruler to to tell critics to "shut up".

Murdoch's plea for more openness in the region - home to about 335 millions Arabs who present a lucrative, growing market - comes as News Corp expands its footprint here.

News Corp owns about a tenth of Saudi entertainment firm Rotana, which it bought for $70 million and has said it could double its investment in the firm - the largest producer of Arab music in the world.

On Monday News Corp said it would move of some of its Fox TV operations to Abu Dhabi.

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