Israel-based i24News television network announced yesterday that it would open an office in Dubai, becoming the first Israeli channel to operate in the UAE since the signing of a normalisation deal between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.
Director-General of Dubai Government Media Office, Mona Al-Marri, said the UAE is keen to consolidate the cooperation of relations with various international media institutions to develop media work mechanisms and increase the exchange of experiences in the field of media technology.
Frank Melloul, chief executive of i24News, said: “The establishment of our office in Dubai Media City gives us a strategic platform to expand our coverage of the Middle East right from the heart of the region’s media industry hub.”
Meanwhile, CEO of Radio and TV Sector at Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI), Ahmed Saeed Al Mansouri, said: “Dubai Media Incorporated’s MoU with i24NEWS is part of our efforts to promote collaboration in enhancing broadcast excellence in the region. DMI constantly seeks to establish strategic cooperation with leading news and broadcast players across the world to tap complementarities and combine strengths to help accelerate media development in the region.”
The TV network has recently signed agreements with two major Emirati telecom operators, Etisalat and DU, who will carry content from i24News, which broadcasts in Arabic, English, and French.
Last year’s normalisation deals signed by the UAE and Bahrain, followed by Sudan and Morocco, were denounced by Palestinians who claimed the states had abandoned a unified position under which Arab countries would make peace only after a two-state solution, negotiations for which have been deadlocked for years.
Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave off Tel Aviv’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made official visits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic or other ties with the occupation state.
Several bilateral agreements on investment, tourism, direct flights, security and telecommunications were signed following the peace deal.