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In Abu Dhabi, rulers grill tech and media gurus on monetization

March 10, 2010: 6:17 AM ET

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch is pushing officials in Abu Dhabi to open up, encourage creativity, and allow outside media companies to gain more of a foothold. Photo: Jon Fortt

ABU DHABI – News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch told government officials and financiers here Tuesday that the best way to grow a thriving media economy in the Middle East is to take risks. That, he said, will mean limiting censorship and opening up to foreign competition – even when it hurts.

Sure, the message was a little self-serving; Murdoch wants to expand his media empire in the burgeoning Middle East market, and the blessing of Abu Dhabi's rulers would help. But he's not the only media baron paying attention to the region. His comments opened the inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit, a tech and content confab that has drawn the likes of Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, and Barry Meyer, CEO of Warner Bros -- which, like Fortune, is owned by Time Warner (TWX).

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