Like most other countries in the region, Oman isn’t particularly noted for its freedom of speech, a fact reflected in its rather turgid media, which still serves more as a PR and propaganda vehicle than a forum for genuine debate and analysis.
The Omani press is unlikely to set pulses racing. All publications are kept heavily under the thumb of the state, and coverage of events in Oman consists of little more than dutiful PR puff about the meetings of assorted government bigwigs, industrial developments and the latest production statistics. Coverage of events abroad (which doesn’t need to be censored) tends to be of a significantly higher quality, however. The Oman Observer (w) is perhaps the best of the country’s four English-language dailies; the others are the Times of Oman (w), the Oman Tribune (w) and the Muscat Daily (w).
Television and radio
The state broadcaster, Oman TV, broadcasts in Arabic only, although the televisions provided in hotel rooms generally carry a range of satellite channels, usually including BBC World News and CNN. The country’s only English-language radio station, Hi Fm (95.9 FM; whi.yourhifm.com), serves up a bland diet of mainstream western pop and inane chat. You can’t usually pick it up outside Muscat, however, which might be a good thing. Elsewhere in the country the radio airwaves can be disconcertingly empty.
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