Israel-based i24News channel to open Dubai office

The television network will be the first Israeli media entity to set up in the UAE since the normalisation of ties last year.

Under the US-brokered 'Abraham Accords' last year, Israel established ties with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco while Sudan followed suit earlier this year [File: Aijaz Rahi/AP]

Israel-based i24News television network has announced plans to open an office in Dubai, the first to do so since the normalisation of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates last year.

“In the last year, we have witnessed regional diplomatic changes that enable business ties and opportunities for partnerships,” Frank Melloul, chief executive of i24News, said on Monday.

“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,” he said.

The news channel also announced a series of agreements with the UAE, including content exchanges with the publisher of English-language daily Gulf News, and advertisements from UAE’s tourism ministry.

Mona Al Marri, director-general of the Government of Dubai Media Office, welcomed “the establishment of cooperation between the media sectors of UAE and Israel”.

Majed Al Suwaidi, the director of Dubai Media City, said that adding i24News to the centre “adds to the rich global diversity of media”.

Shared reporting

Two main Emirati telecom operators, Etisalat and DU, will carry content from i24News, which broadcasts in Arabic, English and French.

In December, the channel based in Israel’s coastal city of Tel Aviv signed a deal with Abu Dhabi Media for shared reporting and archival content.

The state-owned Dubai Media Incorporated said it signed a memorandum of understanding with i24News to cooperate on content creation, media technology and employee exchange programmes.

The channel and Dubai Media Incorporated also said they connect their media with a “Fibre of Peace” an optical line connecting the Gulf to Israel to share information.

Under the US-brokered so-called Abraham Accord last year, Israel established ties with UAE, Bahrain, Morocco while Sudan followed suit earlier this year. Prior to this Egypt and Jordan were the only Arab countries to have diplomatic ties with Israel.

Palestinians condemned the normalisation of ties as it broke with years of Arab League policy, which has held that there should be no relations with Israel until it stopped the occupation of Palestinian lands and agree to an independent Palestinian state.

Israel has already signed a raft of deals with both UAE and Bahrain, ranging from tourism to aviation and financial services.

This month, the first Emirati student began study at an Israeli university.

Source: News Agencies