Procedures for Release of Foreign Publications in Saudi Arabia Being Expedited

Procedures for Release of Foreign Publications in Saudi Arabia Being Expedited

Esra Assery, CEO of the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM), said that the commission has taken all the measures to expedite the release of foreign publications after completing censorship and all other related procedures. Speaking to local news agencies, she said that the simplified censorship procedures for books from abroad are aimed at enhancing the accessibility of the books to Saudi readers.

The duration for shipment of books to warehouses has been shortened to about 30 days, she added. Assery stressed that the measures are also aimed at preventing piracy and fraudulent means. She called on publishing houses that have contracts to publish books on the history of Saudi Arabia to communicate with the King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah) to document the information that will be included in the book for which the agreement was made. She lauded all those who have made positive contributions toward the services related to the release of books, e-books, and publications.

Assery considered the Kingdom as one of the first countries in the region to provide a direct release service for the private sector for readable content following the approval of the amendments to the executive regulations of the Law of Printing and Publications by Acting Minister of Media Majed Al-Qasabi, who is also the chairman of the Board of Directors of GCAM. She said that beneficiaries can apply for the immediate release of foreign publications via the commission’s electronic licensing platform.

Assery expected that the process of clearance during the first year of the launch of the service would reach around 300,000 titles, stressing that the speed of clearance will allow everyone to follow up and interact with everything that is published at the time and in conjunction with the issuance of books, publications and readable content in general. She said the positive amendments in the law activated the e-commerce and publications sector, shortening the clearance mechanism for authors, publishers, and book distributors, and reducing the waiting period, which contributes to encouraging the entry of investors into the authoring, publishing, and distribution sector.

The move would also boost Saudi distribution outlets that have suffered from unfair competition on the part of the Arab publishing houses.

Edward Frank

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