x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAE granted membership into international publishing ring

The UAE was yesterday granted full membership to the International Publishers Association, a global trade association, one year after France blocked its membership amid censorship and copyright concerns.

DUBAI // The body that represents the UAE's publishers was yesterday granted full membership of a global trade association, a year after its previous application was blocked.

The Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) became an affiliate member of the International Publishers Association (IPA) in 2009, and was told the step up to full membership would be a formality after two years.

However last year the French delegation forced a vote on the issue after raising concerns about censorship and copyright protection in the emirates, and the result went against the EPA.

This time, however, the UAE association won a majority in the vote at the IPA's general assembly, which was held alongside the Frankfurt Book Fair.

"I am extremely pleased that the EPA has now been awarded full IPA membership," said Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, the EPA's president. "It is an achievement that not only awards our consistent efforts, but also an accomplishment and honour to be shared with the entire UAE."

The vote took place after the EPA commissioned a study of the UAE's publishing industry, and the association believes the findings helped it to secure membership.

The authors of the report, consultants Rüdiger Wischenbart and Nasser Jarrous, said: "While in the overall context of Arab publishing, piracy is generally considered a disrupting force, the UAE are not seen as a major harbour for the production and dissemination of pirated copyrighted works."

The EPA was set up to support the development of the UAE's publishing industry. It runs training schemes, encourages collaboration between publishers, printers and distributors and protects intellectual property rights.

csimpson@thenational.ae