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
It’s considerably easier to set up in Media City if you’re already based in Dubai. Heba Hashem, for instance, left an administrative job at Gulf News to set herself up as a Media City freelancer and doesn’t regret it one bit. The process, she said, took little more than a month and was hassle-free. “It definitely helps your status with editors,” she says, adding, “You will be well-placed on a regional level. You don’t want to be based in Qatar or Kuwait. You can write for regional magazines and Saudi papers.”
Respectable? Me? There’s also the non-Dubai option: Each of the northern emirates have their own free zones, and Abu Dhabi recently announced ambitious plans for Twofour54, a “media content creation zone” that may ultimately compete with Dubai Media City for the status of regional media hub. A query sent to Twofour54 via its press representative asking about the venture’s options for media freelancers went unanswered.
WhiteFox’s Whitehead considered setting up in one of the northern emirates before choosing an LLC in Dubai. “We took advice from a number of people who’d been in the business for a while,” he says. “We first had a look at Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone, which looked attractive for quick turnaround of our application – and also cheaper compared to Dubai Media City. We rejected that on the advice we got saying Dubai Media City is worth its weight in gold because of the protection it gives you against bad debt. Media City takes your side if you can prove that other Media City entities are bad debtors over a period of time.” He says he hasn’t yet tested that promise, however.