x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Unleash your creativity, Murdoch tells Arab world

Cultivating a vibrant media will help the Arab world to unlock the creative potential of its young people, media mogul says at summit.

Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and managing director of News Corporation, centre, attends the opening night of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit with the chairman of Abu Dhabi Media Company, Mohamed Khalaf al Mazrouei, far right, yesterday.
Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and managing director of News Corporation, centre, attends the opening night of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit with the chairman of Abu Dhabi Media Company, Mohamed Khalaf al Mazrouei, far right, yesterday.

ABU DHABI // Cultivating a vibrant media will help the Arab world to unlock the creative potential of its young people and capitalise on its "one economic resource that is truly inexhaustible", Rupert Murdoch said yesterday. Creative industries could transform economies and generate millions of jobs for bright young minds, the News Corporation chairman said, but only if governments applied a "light hand" to matters such as protectionism and censorship.

"Human creativity flourishes in freedom," he said at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit. "By making the decision for greater openness, you will signal the importance you have assigned to creativity in your plans for the future - and declare your confidence in your people." The three-day summit, which ends tomorrow, aims to raise Abu Dhabi's profile as a regional centre for the media. Governments could spur media booms in their countries through investment and legal reforms, Mr Murdoch said. Media companies could play their part by being more transparent about audience numbers and embracing new business models, he added.

Citing his company's investments in the region - including a new Abu Dhabi regional office announced this week - Mr Murdoch said he was making a long-term bet that the Middle East's creative industries would flourish as countries developed institutionally and socially. Mr Murdoch cited the film My Name is Khan, which was co-produced by Imagenation Abu Dhabi and premiered in the capital last month, as the kind of cross-cultural media product that could become the region's signature. Imagenation Abu Dhabi is a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media Company, which owns and publishes The National.

"The popularity of My Name is Khan reminds us that no nation has a monopoly on creative content," he said. "If you tell a good story, people will respond." tgara@thenational.ae khagey@thenational.ae