- Sheikha Bodour, Founder and President of Emirates Publishers Association, discusses the publishing industry in the Arab region with Dr. Michiel Kolman
In a discussion led by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and President of the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA), Dr. Michiel Kolman, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), said that the UAE is playing a leading regional role in protecting the rights of writers, publishers and creative individuals. The IPA President made the remarks during a one-to-one session, which formed part of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA)’s Professional Programme taking place at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry until tomorrow (Tuesday).
During the discussion, Dr. Kolman highlighted the significant steps the UAE has taken to protect copyright and intellectual property, as well as highlighted the piracy issues that the sector faces. He praised the country’s experience with freedom to publish issues, which he said made it a premium regional hub that adds value to publishers from across the world.
“Being a signatory to several international conventions and a member of many international organisations is something that has contributed greatly to the positioning of the UAE at the forefront of the publishing industry in the region.” said Dr. Kolman.
Dr. Kolman, who is the senior Vice President of Information Industry Relations at Elsevier – a leading Dutch publishing house specialised in publishing scientific and medical books and journal – continued: ”Upholding freedom to publish ensures diversity of sources of knowledge and provides access to information that is essential for cultural diversity, creativity, prosperity, tolerance and social development. Unfortunately, several countries in the Middle East face important challenges when it comes to freedom of expression.”
Lauding the creation of Sharjah Publishing City (SPC), Dr. Kolman said “SPC will play a strong role in helping emergent publishers expand their business to neighbouring markets. This initiative will not only nurture the growth of domestic companies to compete on a world stage, but will also enable publishers to benefit fully from the globalisation of the industry. It will also assist Sharjah to capitalise on interest from global and regional publishers in the UAE, not just as a sales destination, but as a more permanent operational base that contributes to the production, translation and distribution of books around the world.”
From her side, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi said: “Sharjah being named by UNESCO as the World Book Capital 2019 is a testament to the pride the emirate takes in its cultural and creative industries. Innovative initiatives such as SPC as a global publishing hub also helps increase the contribution of the publishing industry to the national economy and the economies of neighbouring countries.”
EPA was founded in 2009 with the aim of developing the publishing sector in the UAE and advancing the role of publishers through mentorship and training programmes that help increase their efficiency. The organisation represents professionals in the UAE’s publishing industry and improves the conditions and rules related to their career, in collaboration with publishing bodies in the country and beyond.