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Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPCFZ), the world’s first publishing and printing free zone, managed by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), has participated in a panel discussion themed ‘The Reality and the Future of the Publishing Sector’, organized by Dubai Culture Authority. The occasion was an opportunity to showcase SPCFZ premium facilities and offerings to local and international publishers while serving to highlight its efforts to support the publishing industry.

Moderated by Fahd Al Muammari, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the session was attended by Salim Omar Salim, Director of SPCFZ; Ibrahim Al-Khadem, Director of Media Content at the National Media Council (NMC), Amani Al Shehi from Sharjah TV and Taleb Shaheen, journalist at Al Bayan newspaper.

Regarding Sharjah Publishing City’s facilities, Salim explained that SPCFZ played a key role in the advancement of the publishing industry in the UAE, with its premium writing, publishing, printing, and documenting services all available at a single state-of-the-art facility. Along with a business-friendly environment, SPCFZ offered local and international publishers the infrastructure to set up and operate a successful business with the capability to expand globally.

Salim said: “Since its establishment, SPCFZ has been making great strides in forging strategic partnerships with various cultural entities in the emirate and the nation. Over the past few years, SPCFZ has gone global, participating in leading cultural events across the world to introduce international publishers and free zones to its world-class facilities and incentives, as well as to showcase its initiatives to support the publishing industry.”

He added: “SPCFZ offers publishers a wide range of integrated services including streamlined processes, ease of doing business, flexible laws and regulations, as well as low publishing costs and skilled manpower, all in one place.”

Speaking about SPCFZ’s market outlook, Salim stressed that effective partnerships were instrumental to the development of the publishing industry in the future. He said: “Publishing is not an individual process. It includes the writer, editor and publisher, as well as the country and its cultural institutions. The development of the publishing sector depends on collective effort, with all entities cooperating and agreeing upon the idea, the content and the presentation. The content must adhere to the policies of the nation. Publishing houses should maintain a strong relationship with the legislative authorities and collaborate with them to promote and support the publishing industry.”

Regarding investment in the publishing industry, the director of SPCFZ said the key to attracting investment was an advanced publishing sector where the quality of content was maintained. It was the responsibility of the publishers to offer quality and not cut costs to make a profit.

He reiterated: “Publishers who look for profits to the detriment of content will lose the trust of both, writers and readers, who are key players in the success of their business. Publishers should not value revenue over reputation. Sustainable revenue growth can be achieved only by maintaining quality and professional standards and attracting talented people to create original content. I believe that publishers play a key role in the success of this sector.”