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23 January, 2006

A freer future

Hooray to the Sharjah Court of Appeal for an extremely encouraging verdict in the Bassma Al Jandaly libel case.

And congrats to GN staff for their firm stance pro-media-freedom throughout, as well as the UAE Journalists Association's work to revise the 1980 Federal publications law. According to association head Mohammad Yousuf, the only restrictions to free speech in future should be: "not to insult Islam and all other religions, to respect the country's ruling system, and not to incite conflict or sectarianism".

Lest we forget, Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed is one of the strongest proponents of media freedom:

"Freedom of press in the UAE; be it in the Media City, or a free zone, we will accept and respect all opinions and views, even if opposing our own point of view. We welcome this."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

23 January, 2006 02:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about those who get whipped/slogged?


23 January, 2006 02:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

freedom? in the UAE? u sure?

23 January, 2006 09:28  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Sorry, had to censor the first comment due to warnings about the litigious nature of the people mentioned (oh how ironic in a post about media freedom):

anonymous said...
Free or not free, Media are useless here. Useless papers loaded only with colorful ads and just quoting news from different agencies [censored bit].

Don't even think of talking about radio stations since it is a true waste of time.

23 January, 2006 11:06  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

According to Reporters Without Borders third annual worldwide press freedom index:

1. The UAE is ranked 137th out of 167, behind the likes of Sudan, Algeria, and the Palestinan authority.

2. Kuwait is ranked 103rd, some way ahead of Bahrain (143rd), Iran (158th) and Saudi Arabia (159th). Qatar is ranked 104th, whereas Oman is not listed for some reason.

3. Israel is ranked 36th, ahead of Italy (39th), Spain (39th), and Australia (41st).

23 January, 2006 11:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey at least we're better than Singapore!

23 January, 2006 12:05  
Blogger Smokey Mirror said...

As a disclaimer, I really do love this country. I've been here my entire life and consider this my only real 'home'.

That being said..

We have a ways to go before we have the freedoms that other 'civilized' nation take for granted. The basic problem is one of hypocrisy in the law.

Bear with me.

We talk about "Freedom of Speech" and "Freedom of the Press" in a nation that doesn't provide any freedom of information (Etisalat, I'm talking to you).

We hold an International Film Festival, going as far as to compare it to the Cannes festival, and yet we censor foreign movies before showing them.

We hear ministers and high ranking officials (not forgetting Sheikh Mohammed) supporting freedom of speech, while at the same time we hear officials from the TRA trying to impose their views on the FREE Zones.

These are real problems. Problems I'm sure will eventually be resolved, but until they (and other similar issues) are ALL resolved, then we can't even start to consider ourselves living in a free society.

23 January, 2006 14:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is anonymous. I chose that name because if I used my real name, I would be afraid that one day someone will call me for a crime in an unclear law. If I keep this new name, I will remain, anonymous...and untouchable, almost. Why doesn't secretdubai give her real name? Scared. Why dont we know the real name of sorrydubai? Because she was silly. Why do she get in trouble? Because she was flagrant. Why did seccy get in trouble? Because she is too smart. Why is there such laws? Because there is something to hide that is not wanted to know. Today I read about taxi drivers having to stop working to make a point because of none pay. Why? Because of none education. In Saudi, there is less freedome, because there is more about criticism because no money goes to the people and only the royales. If Sheikh Mohamed is so open, he should follow way of the Europe and help people know the truth to take out the bad people rather than let untruths be told.


23 January, 2006 14:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 23 January, 2006 14:46

In the main I think I agree with you. However HH Sheikh Mohammed is trying to do just that. He is pro openness anda moderniser. Modern enough in a country that is moving fast enough. Any more liberal and he would be criticized for being that. I think he has got it just right. The problem is that the enforcers underneath just do not understand that, and that is where the problems occur. Sheikh Mo has more things to worry about, Such as Dubai Inc and everything that goes with it than just freedom of speech.

23 January, 2006 14:55  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Why doesn't secretdubai give her real name? Scared.

Actually, the main reason is out of respect to my company and their privacy.

The second reason is that there is absolutely nothing interesting or exciting about my real identity. I am so incredibly boring that "secret" is about the only way I can create a fake veneer of interestingness. Although it actually refers to Dubai here, not me.

The third reason is that I think generally, people need to be better aware of their online privacy, and give out less identifiable details.

I have always been aware from the start that the government can identify me, no matter what anonymity I hide behind. If there are high-level h4xx0r skills that can mask a person from the government, I certainly don't have them.

Why did seccy get in trouble? Because she is too smart.

If you mean the infamous poem, sadly I didn't write it. I wish I had, because it was brilliantly clever, far more so than me.

23 January, 2006 15:02  
Blogger archer14 said...

Everything evolves from some point. But at least we are at the beginning of 'journalistic freedom'..From there, we may achieve a higher form of freedom, but never true freedom. True freedom exists only in a democracy, not in a fiefdom.

23 January, 2006 18:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous @ 23 January, 2006 14:46 ,

But I DO know who u are... you're the parasite that lives off other's comments without making any sensible contribution yourself...

Don't you agreee Mr. Balushi?

24 January, 2006 15:07  

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