The Media Regulatory Office of the Ministry of Culture and Youth has announced on Wednesday to resume the distribution of newspapers and magazines in line with the COVID-19 safety guidelines. Photo for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News archive

Abu Dhabi: The distribution of newspapers and magazines in the UAE’s public places resume on July 7, the Media Regulatory Office of the Ministry of Culture and Youth has announced on Wednesday.

The distribution can resume provided it is done in full compliance with precautionary measures regarding COVID-19, it added. The decision follows a series of meetings held by the media office with major newspaper and magazine distribution companies in the country, with the aim of reviewing the procedures for circulating publications of all kinds.

Easing restrictions

The meetings included discussions on drawing up a road map for lifting restrictions on the distribution of material and assisting the UAE’s publishing sector to return to normality as the pandemic eases.

The decision from the ministry falls within the framework of the UAE’s integrated strategy towards driving phased recovery in vital economic sectors, in addition to supporting the publishing sector in its role of “enriching culture and knowledge in society”. This will see the restarting of the distribution of newspapers and magazines in public places throughout the country, including restaurants, cafés, hotels and duty-free stores.

Promoting recovery

Dr Rashid Khalfan Al Nuaimi

Dr Rashid Khalfan Al Nuaimi, Executive Director, Media Regulatory Office, said: “The decision to lift distribution restrictions for newspapers and magazines in public places is in line with the national strategy towards promoting the recovery of all sectors, including the media, from the repercussions of the pandemic.”

He added: “I would like to commend the spirit of cooperation and support that we received from the distribution companies during the first period of the COVID-19 outbreak. Today [Wednesday] marks an important milestone in overcoming the pandemic and continuing the process of cultural development and enriching knowledge in Emirati society. In cooperation with our partners, we are delighted to resume the distribution of publications in public places and to play an essential role in revitalising this important sector.”

Growing sector

Al Nuaimi said the newspapers, magazines and publications sector witnessed remarkable growth during the three years before the outbreak of the pandemic, with the number of periodicals distributed during 2017-2019 reaching 107,808. Out of this number 8,984 titles covered the cultural and art sectors. Al Nuaimi said these publications comprised titles in several languages, the most prominent of which were English and Arabic, with other languages including French, German, Hindi, Italian and Chinese.