No loyalty, no radio licence, says AMG

The boss of the government-owned Arab Media Group has warned outside investors that they have no hope of getting private UAE radio

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By  Tim Burrowes Published  May 28, 2006

The boss of the government-owned Arab Media Group has warned outside investors that they have no hope of getting private UAE radio licences unless they show their “loyalty”. Speaking at the International Radio Conference, Abdullatif Al Sayegh, who oversees eight radio stations of the Arabian Radio Network in Dubai, also launched into a thinly-veiled attack on a weekly listener phone-in programme that appears on rival station Radio 2. And he said that only people who were positive about the UAE should be allowed to have licences. He told the audience: “Investors ask when are you going to open up your licences? But people who come from outside unfortunately they always come with this phrase freedom of expression or speech. The way they see it is completely different to the way we see it. “Someone will come from Europe or the US and they want to have the same framework here without thinking if it will fit or whether people can accept it. If they cannot, then they feel they do not have freedom of speech, which is completely wrong. “There is one station and one particular programme and there’s not a single positive element they can discuss. It’s all about negativity. If the country is bad, if the people are no good, if we don’t have security, if you don’t have safety, if you complain about all of this, my question is: what are you doing here? “If we want our government to open up we have to show them we have to be loyal. If we come to understand that, then only by that time licences will be allowed to be owned from people outside.”

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