Arab Ministers issue draft sat-licensing rules

We now have the full details of the draft regulations covering satellite transmissions over the Middle East. The regionís information and broadcasting ministers met recently in an attempt to overcome objections from some nations as to the wording of an earlier attempt to introduce region-wide licensing for satellite channels.

The initial February 2008 outline is now to be incorporated into a new document under the authority of the Arab League General Assembly (and the Information Ministers Council) is to now recommend to the Permanent Committee for Arab Media that:

1: [It] follows "the Principles for Organizing Satellite Radio and Television Transmission in the Arab region" Document and to implement it within the framework of each country legalizations and systems.

2: Submit a Request to Secretary General to draft a project to establish Arab commission for information which would attain, among its tasks, respect to the Principles for Organizing Satellite Radio and Television Transmission in the Arab region" Document, and above all, respect for the right to express opinion and to activate dialogue. This project shall be presented in the Next meeting of the Arab Information Ministers Council.

However, the formal document noted that the UAE confirms it has reservations about that part of the original February draft document in relation to comments about Duty Free Zones. This suggests that the UAE is looking for some sort of escape clause in relation to its highly popular Media Free Zone in and around Dubai Media and Studio City.