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Addmedia, bad media

July 14, 2007 10:00 by

media, UAE

Uncertainty surrounds the future of Addmedia, the Dubai-based publisher of Campus Journal and The Buzz. Staff arrived this morning (July 15) to find the locks to the office have been changed - and boss Jameel Qeblawi not answering calls.

The lock-out marks a new low as Qeblawi steers the company onto the rocks. Staff are owed three months wages but have been repeatedly promised a new backer was imminent and cash flow would be restored. Despite six months of promises, excuses and lengthy absences none has been forthcoming.

It is understood MIS, sales agent for both Addmedia titles, last month pulled out of its contract, claiming Qeblawi had for months failed to print either title - in effect asking MIS to defraud advertisers. Staff claim Qeblawi has diverted Addmedia invoices to pay for private expenses.

Launched in 2001 with Campus Journal (“the UAE’s original student newspaper”), and followed by the off-beat Buzz, the publisher has failed to add new titles or extend either brand. Neither title is audited.

Addmedia’s difficulties reflect a growing maturity within the UAE publishing sector. Publishers are either having to buck up or ship out. ITP and Motivate, the two leading independents, have both signed high-profile international licenses, and pledged to audit.

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