Abu Dhabi Launches International Media Center

The city of Abu Dhabi--capital city of the United Arab Emirates--is opening a 200,000 square-meter campus called the Abu Dhabi Media Zone, built by the government to house foreign media companies, local officials announced Sunday. CNN, HarperCollins, Random House, the British Broadcasting Corporation, The Financial Times and the Thomson Reuters Foundation--the charity arm of financial news corporation Thomson Retuers--will join the Abu Dhabi Media Zone, according to the New York Times.

CNN will move nearly 30 staff members to Abu Dhabi, and will begin broadcasting a prime-time news show from the city on CNN International. London, Hong Kong and Mexico City are the only three other international cities from which CNN has the capability to produce studio broadcasts.

The strong sales growth of English-language books in the Middle East attracted HarperCollins and Random House to the area. Abu Dhabi, which recently hosted the Middle East International Film Festival, is also known for its interest in films and in film education. Flush with wealth from oil money, Abu Dhabi has plenty of money to invest in the arts. The Abu Dhabi Media Company recently announced a plan to spend $1 billion to start a film financing branch to invest in Hollywood-style, English-language movies. Last year, the company agreed to a $1 billion deal with Warner Brothers to make video games and movies.

The creation of this campus puts Abu Dhabi one step closer to reaching its goal of becoming a cultural and media center for the Middle East. The Abu Dhabi Media Zone will offer training for the region's journalists and filmmakers as well as provide a base for Western companies to conduct business. The first ever U.A.E. Press Freedom Day was held in Abu Dhabi last month, with the goal of encouraging the government to be more open and to make information more accessible.

Source: New York Times

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