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UAE grants companies accreditation to self-monitor book content

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), regulatory body the National Media Council (NMC) has granted Content Self-Monitoring Program (CSMP) accreditation to five book industry companies so they can monitor the content of books themselves, reports Khaleej Times.

The newly accredited companies include bookstore chains Kinokuniya, Magrudy’s, and Borders (Al Maya Global Library), as well as Sybel Book Distribution and Jashanmal National Company (the owner of bookselling chains Relay and Jashanmal).

The program allows publishers, distributors and bookshops to evaluate the content of books themselves, which will streamline the book-to-market process, ‘improve circulation [and] drive the development of the entire publishing industry’, in line with the NMC’s long-term strategies to promote writing, publishing and reading in the UAE.

Prior to the introduction of the CSMP, each book released in the UAE region needed to be submitted to and approved by the NMC. Each book needed to meet NMC content standards, and if deemed acceptable, would receive a permit to be sold. The process could take days or months, depending on the quantity of titles and the titles’ content, and the process often conflicted with the lead time of book publicity campaigns.

Earlier this year, the NMC implemented a new ratings system for media consumed in the country. The ratings system is aimed at ‘preserving the values of the UAE society and its cultural heritage, and at protecting children from the negative influences from various media platforms’.

Kinokuniya Dubai store manager Steve Jones told Books+Publishing that Kinokuniya and the NMC share mutual goals in ensuring that both visitors and Emirati people have the opportunity to buy and read a wide range of books. Jones said: ‘The CSMP gives Kinokuniya the opportunity to display titles in-store at the same time as the international bookstore, allowing us to leverage a publisher’s publicity [campaign], and confidently tell a customer when a book will be available to purchase.’

Jones also confirmed that Kinokuniya Dubai currently has ‘three layers’ of staff who check that any titles to be sold in-store do not contain offensive content, which will not change with the introduction of the CSMP.

As part of the program, the NMC will provide a range of services including regular training workshops about media content and age classification systems to allow accredited bookshops to keep abreast of any new terms, conditions, standards and regulatory requirements.



Category: International news