News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch has called on leaders in the Middle East to lighten up on the news media if they wish to attract foreign investment in the media sector of their economies. Murdoch, whose own newspapers, including the London Times and Sunday Times and the Wall Street Journal , have been censored and condemned for their reporting on the debt crises in the United Arab Emirates, told the Abu Dhabi Media Summit today (Wednesday), "In the face of an inconvenient story it can be tempting to resort to censorship, or civil or criminal laws to try to bury it." However, he recommended "a gentle touch." Murdoch, who has been accused of kowtowing editorially to China's rulers in his newspaper and satellite-TV operations, insisted however, that he is moving ahead with plans to augment News Corp's Middle East operations, including setting up their headquarters in Abu Dhabi and augmenting it with a unit that will produce television documentaries. Last month News Corp acquired a $70-million stake in Rotana Group, controlled by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who, in turn, has invested in News Corp. Although, Rotana doesn't really need his money, Murdoch said, "We are partnering Rotana for something more ambitious To tap into Arab talent and ultimately produce original Arab content for markets both here and abroad."

10/03/2010