United Arab Emirates: MTV Arabia refrain from playing music videos



United Arab Emirates:
MTV Arabia refrain from playing music videos

The Middle East’s new youth entertainment and lifestyle tv-channel MTV Arabia announced on 20 August 2008 that it will mark the holy month Ramadan by refraining from music videos.

Some call it “religious censorship over music videos”. Others appreciate the tv-channel’s sensitivity to the solemnity of the Islamic month of fasting. The Ramadan is a Muslim religious observance during which Muslims refrain from eating or drinking anything from dawn until sunset.

MTV Arabia’s manager Samr Al Mazouqi was quoted as saying: “The Holy Month is a time for introspection, and we would like to offer our viewers a break from the ordinary fare. (…) MTV Arabia is conscious of regional sensitivities and we are keen to respond to the needs and desires of viewers in the Middle East, the vast majority of whom will be fasting, spending time with family, and focusing on their spiritual lives.”

MTV Arabia was launched in November 2007, broadcasting from Dubai via two major satelite networks. The popular channel has brought the Arab world cutting-edge international music as well as the best in Arabic pop and hip hop. During Ramadan, the channel will continue to play programmes from MTV’s international roster of reality shows, celebrity news and pop culture documentaries.

“We have high censorship on what goes on air in terms of language, images, everything has high censorship,” the station’s head of productions and promotions, Rasha Al Eman, told Communicate Magazine in December 2007.

Perplexed MTV-viewers such as Samir, an IT consultant, was quoted as saying:

“This is just an empty gesture which will not have any lasting impact. People will just switch on to other channels and watch music videos there. If we really believe in the idea that music videos are ‘bad’, they should not be aired all year through. I think it’s better to leave it to individuals and let them decide whether they want to watch ‘bad things’ in Ramadan or not.”

The Middle East Business News website KippReport.com opened an online debate page with the question: “Why is MTV Arabia stopping music videos, the USP of the channel, during Ramadan?”

MTV Arabia’s logo


Google News – continously updated:

Search: “MTV Arabia” + ‘Ramadan’

Saudi Gazette – 27 August 2008:

‘MTV-Arabia changes its stripes – for a month’

Arabian Business – 26 August 2008:

‘MTV Arabia to drop music videos in Ramadan’

Arabian Business – 25 August 2008:

‘MTV Arabia lowers volume during Ramadan’

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