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I want to break free!
Media freelancing is big business in Dubai, but working on your own terms is not easy. Here are its pros and cons.
November 9, 2008 9:27 by kippreport
This offers a glimpse at the vagaries of media freelancing in Dubai. In many markets, self-employed individuals play an important role in the media industry, be it as advertising copywriters, cameramen, photographers, or PR consultants. Yet in the UAE, freelancers still struggle for respectability.
Not to mention legality. Strictly speaking, the UAE Labor Law prohibits any sort of work relationship outside the confines of an old-fashioned employer-worker contract. Yet, at the same time, Dubai Media City, a government institution, offers freelancers in the media field a business license and a residence visa allocation. So it goes in the UAE, where the law often says one thing and means something else. “Freelancing is common across the world,” says Mohamed Al Mulla, executive director of Dubai Media City. “It’s nothing that has been reinvented. What Dubai Media City has done is simply legalize the opportunities for media freelancers.”
Shifting scribes, bad debtors. Employers face their own set of issues. In a tight labor market, consistency and quality are high among them. “A client knows if you’ve changed your writer,” says Nandini Vohra, a former account director at Portsmouth Group who launched her own PR agency, The Guild, this year. “And they will ask. They’re used to a certain style and they have a certain expectation.” When her freelance Arabic copywriter went on holiday for three weeks, Vohra hired another. “The client called me up immediately and said, ‘Who Arabized this?’”