The prominent Middle East
Broadcasting Center, MBC satellite channel, will relocate its
headquarters from London to the Dubai Media City early next year. The
announcement was made yesterday by Ali Hedithy, MBC CEO and Mohammed
Al Gergawi, director-general of Dubai Technology, E-commerce and Media
Free Zone and chairman of the Dubai Media City. Yesterday, MBC and
Dubai Media City signed an agreement under which the channel will finalize
"The process will soon begin to relocate the headquarters
of MBC from London and the move should be completed by the end of
2001. We are targeting to be on the air from Dubai on January 1,
2002," Hedithy said. MBC's new headquarters will house the
administrative and operational activities in a six-story building with
over 120,000 square feet of office space. MBC will retain a
representative office in London, and its new production studios in
Beirut will also remain.
"The Dubai headquarters will have programs and news
studios. The Dubai Media City expansion plans entail setting up drama
production studios for rental. We can utilize those, if needed, in the
future," Hedithy said. He denied that the channel will downsize
its newsroom and stressed that the channels' open editorial policy
will remain unchanged. "We have the guarantee to freely express.
We will enjoy the same editorial advantages as in London."
"MBC is a realistic and credible channel. It has no
problems and has the freedom of expression," Gergawi said. He
refused to reveal MBC's costs involved in the relocation. Hedithy
stressed that the move will enable the channel to focus more on
business coverage. Gergawi said the Dubai Media City was now able to
offer the competitive advantages that prompted the broadcaster's move
to London ten years ago.
"MBC's move is a milestone in the evolution of the Arab
media industry. This step contributes to the repatriation of migrant
Arab media by providing the means for creativity and freedom of
expression to present a comprehensive Arab media message on regional
and global changes," Gergawi said.
"We are proud the decision was taken at a time MBC is
implementing ambitious expansion plans. "Gergawi said MBC will
move closer to its target audience and enjoy Dubai's supportive
advantages of being a major business, finance and services hub. MBC
will also benefit from operating in the midst of a vast concentration
of regional and international advertising agencies, production
companies and other related media organisations.
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Source: Gulf News