Oman to set up public authority for TV, radio

October 20th, 2010

Text of report in English by Dubai newspaper Gulf News website on 20 October

Muscat: A public authority for radio and television is soon to be created in Oman, following a royal decree issued on Tuesday [19 October]. This is the second step that the country has taken in an attempt to liberalize its broadcasting media. The first took place four years ago when a private sector company was awarded a licence to run radio stations. Now there are two companies broadcasting radio programmes from private frequencies.

The first [state-run] radio station (Oman FM) is still run under the control of the Ministry of Information and so is the country’s only television station. The new order puts the government-controlled radio and television stations under the Public Authority for Radio and Television, however. So far there has been no announcement regarding who will head the new organization.

According to the order, the Public Authority for Radio and Television will work according to the commercial rules of the country, but will come under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Information. It will manage its financial and administrative affairs independently.

“The Authority shall have the authority to manage its funds and take actions towards them,” states the royal decree. “The authority shall be based in the Muscat governorate. It may establish branches in the sultanate and the foreign offices as well, as per the dictates of public interest and according to a decision by its board of directors.”

All the employees at the radio and television directorate are to be transferred to the Public Authority for Radio and Television. In addition, the information minister could transfer its employees to the new entity with the same financial benefits and grades.

The Decree, to form the Public Authority for Radio and Television, comes into force in three months, starting from October 19. The Council of Ministers may extend it if necessary.