LONDON: The Saudi Ministry of Media and the General Authority for AudioVisual Media on Saturday co-launched a service that allows the immediate and direct clearance of external electronic publications.
The launch comes as Media Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi approved amendments to the executive regulations of the Press and Publications Law.
The service is available to both the public and private sectors.
In a statement, the authority confirmed that Saudi Arabia is one of the first countries in the region to provide a direct and immediate clearance service from private sector publications.
Previously, beneficiaries had to apply for immediate clearance of foreign publications through the authority’s electronic licensing platform, only after such publications complied with the regulations and controls.
The new service includes books, e-books and publications whose requests for clearance services are 61 percent abroad and 39 percent locally.
The authority forecasts the number of clearances for the first year after the launch to reach 300,000 publications.
It said that the amendments will strengthen the e-commerce and publications sector, facilitating the clearance process for authors, publishers and book distributors, shortening the waiting period, and also encouraging investors to enter the writing, publishing and distribution sector.
The immediate clearance application will help reduce piracy, fraud and users’ intrusion into international stores, the authority added.