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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Something is changing in Saudi media

Saudi Minister of Information - Mr. Khoja - is starting to put his "reformist" touch to Saudi TV - and I am not talking about religious changes - but modernizing Saudi TV.

The first step was KSA 1's partnering with major media groups such as MBC.

The second step will be corporatizing Saudi TV: Instead of it being a department within the Ministry of Information, a company (fully Government owned) will be formed to run the Saudi channels.
This should bring about modernizing the processes, the organization and why not later on introducing advertisements...(to see)

This Government owned company, is exactly what Dubai and Abu Dhabi governments have successfully done:
- Dubai Media Inc
- Abu Dhabi Media Company

I'll be watching these changes and will keep you updated.

This modernization should also be read in light of the "crackdown" the Saudi Government has done on Saudi owned - but private - channels: such as the LBC Sat case (cf: my previous posts) Is Mr. Khoja playing a great equilibrium game? (give some there, to gain somewhere else???) Whatever the case, Mr. Khoja seems to be the right man for modernizing the Saudi TV!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Saudi Men Watch too much TV

Saudi males are lazy, eat too much junk food and spend too much time in front of the television, an Arab health and nutrition expert has said.

Dr Abdullah Musaiqir, head of the Arab Centre for Nutrition, warned of increasing obesity in the Gulf states, and particularly Saudi Arabia, and cited a Saudi study showing that more than 53 percent of Saudi males live a “lethargic lifestyle”.

Only 20 percent of Saudi males were described as leading a healthy lifestyle and engaging in activities that helped keep them in good physical shape, reported Saudi Gazette on Wednesday.

Twenty seven percent were described by the study as having a “partially active” lifestyle, Musaiqir told the paper.

Parents, he said, should cut down on TV watching time for both themselves and their children, and to remove television sets from dining rooms and bedrooms.

Musaiqir said the first steps towards promoting a healthier lifestyle should come with awareness programmes conducted throughout the Gulf with media involvement, and that school and university curricula should be improved to address issues of nutrition and public health.


Monday, August 17, 2009

HD TV coming to the Arab world

High Definition TV (HDTV) will soon be a reality in the Arab world.

Abu Dhabi TV announced that it will start broadcasting in the UAE its new Abu Dhabi HD channel. programs will initially feature documentaries and sports with some movies it seems.

This is a big step in the Arab media scene. But we are still along way to go for TV channels to invest in HD equipment, and for users to have access to the technology. But gotta start somewhere!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

LBC Sat and Saudi Arabia: the sex scandal

As most of the readers of this blog know by now, LBC Sat's office in Jeddah has been closed by the Saudi Ministry of Information and Culture. This happened after LBC's "Ahmar Bil Khat Al Arid" showed the "confession" of a Saudi man, recalling how he had numerous sexual encounters with many Saudi women. The witness, explained how to pick up Saudi women using Bluetooth etc...

The interesting thing is LBC Sat's reaction. Silence (what can they say, they rely on Saudi ad money and LBC Sat is partly owned by Saudi prince Walid Bin Talal),and most unexpectedly... reruns!

Indeed, LBC Sat has been rerunning a 3-4 month old interview with Saudi Minister of Information and Culture, Abdel Aziz Khoja, where he proclaims how he wants to work with private owned Satellite channels (such as LBC Sat) and how the freedom of these channels is good for Saudi Arabia.

That said, the interview itself is quite interesting. Mr. Khoja is very candid and talks openly about the media, internet, freedom, Saudi problems etc...