* Twenty-four new satellite TV channels will go on air from the Creative City of the Fujairah Media Free Zone over the next three months, raising the total number of operating channels form the city to 37.
* Many applications have been received from the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, France and Lebanon for launching TV channels from the FMI.
* Agreements for licensing more than 100 TV networks were also inked.
* The FMI is planning to organize a festival of heritage, environmental and natural documentaries.
* A media training academy will be set up in coordination with France and a number of international companies.
* The 4,000-square-metre Creative City will have seven zones for radio, TV, Press, technology, media training academy, theatre and cinema.
* The Creative City will be completed in two years with the cost of the first phase itself running into $55 million.
* The city will recruit 4,000 to 6,000 professionals.
Clarifying the Purpose of Creativity City
Affirmation was expressed and questions were raised when the Creativity City was announced earlier in the year.
At the launch there was little detail given but I said the following in an article at the time (see above link) about the prospect of great creativity:
“If they get it right, there will be scientists who eradicate AIDS, economists that make Darfur’s poverty history, diplomats that bring peace to Iraq, environmentalists that achieve global cooling and poets that inspire the world emerging from Fujairah’s ‘Creativity City.’”
I asked: “How much creativity will go into creating this space? Will ‘Creativity City’ be merely a trendy name for a business area or an environment that is serious about fostering constructive creativity?”
Benefits and Questions about the Media Blitz
The new development looks good news for people in the media, writing and theatre business. It will be good for employment in the eastern region.
But twenty-four TV channels!! Sponsored by several of the Gulf countries. In what languages? Aimed at which audiences? This is a huge increase of television channels especially when those with a basic TV package can already get hundreds of feeds from the Gulf countries and from stations from all over the world.
If the potential TV channels will be supplied by many international countries companies how many will focus on Fujairah news, Fujairah happenings, Fujairah current affairs and Fujairah drama or will this move simply add to the glut of programs, many of which look and sound the same as each other?
Source: Salah Al Debarky, ‘24 New TV Channels from Fujairah Creative City’, Khaleej Times, 15 November 2007.
Dr Geoff Pound
Check out the story about the international media thrust into the UAE at:
Experiencing the Emirates
Image: Satellite TV channels.