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03 May, 2006

Unfair pressure

UAE newspapers. We know they're limp rags compared to their international counterparts, but it's not the journalists' fault:

"Every newspaper and reporter self-censors and any newspaper that says they don't is deluded," said the editor of a local newspaper.

More frustrating than government pressure is corporate meddling:

"They said private advertisers openly pressured and threatened publications by pulling advertising if they saw stories they did not like."

Of course these are often one and the same: government-owned companies strong-arming the local press to withdraw stories or suppress others from ever seeing the light of day. Let's not forget this fascinating but withdrawn article by ITP.

It's currently illegal to publish any story that "harms" the UAE national economy, even the story is true. Not a great situation for investors who need full transparency and disclosure in financial news and information.



Blogger Anon said...

Just on the Dubailand stuff (thanks for the pdf btw) after yesterday's announcement of the 11km long hotel development in Dubailand by Sheik Maktoum, was it perhaps a re-branding/re-launch?

Conspiracy theory??

03 May, 2006 08:58  
Blogger archer14 said...

Yeah ugly camel,
"Shawarma Theories"
Brought to you by your #1 Newspaper.

Its not that far away....

03 May, 2006 09:42  
Blogger Earthbound Misfit said...

I have heard rumours that the falcon city of wonders has been shelved....

You know the one where they were going to build the wonders of the world and have shopping malls etc inside

03 May, 2006 12:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

03 May, 2006 12:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's "currently" illegal to publish any story that harms the UAE national economy? Isn't it always?

03 May, 2006 12:47  
Blogger LizzieD said...

bloglingo: They are actually in the process of re-writing the UAE press laws. They are horribly outdated. My magazine was able to publish news of the Dubailand slowdown with zero government interference. That's the other problem with the press laws. They are randomly applied.

03 May, 2006 13:50  
Blogger Ali said...

There was a lovely article this morning in the Wall Street Journal about the rich kids of Dubai and illegal street racing. Censorship or no censorship, now that Dxb is on the map, there's not going to be any way to stem the tide except by trying to delude the populous within the Sandland boundaries.

03 May, 2006 15:06  
Blogger sh kamal said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

03 May, 2006 22:18  
Blogger sh kamal said...

yaani... the whole world is focusing on dubai?

Aaaaaaa.....we need international exposure and we will accomplish that in a record time

Btw anyone has a pdf of(
above link was posted by za on 1 may and was a excellent post

03 May, 2006 22:36  
Blogger Mohamed Elzubeir said...

I have been talking to some high-level officials and I can tell you that the general view here in Dubai is, let the media go wild. However, you cannot do this kind of thing overnight.

In fact, most decision-makers here understand and appreciate the meaning of a free media that is able to criticize openly.

We are heading that way, but it will take its time. It's an evolution, not a revolution.

04 May, 2006 20:02  
Blogger ReginaFilangee said...

having lived there and now no more (thank god), and being able to look on from the outside in, the only media we see about dubai (which is very rare) is negative. Living in dubai, you are exposed to all the self proclaiming BS "the earth has a new centre" or "the most prestigious sq km on the planet" - really?! says who?

04 May, 2006 20:39  
Blogger Mohamed Elzubeir said...

reginaFilangee.. umm, that's call 'advertising'. People pay people to sell their products/services.

05 May, 2006 00:41  
Blogger the shadow said...

um, make that BAD advertising :p

11 May, 2006 23:24  
Blogger unspokensilences said...

Hey if Fox provide the perfect spin for the US governments why does everyone get upset when U A E # 1 newspaper gets into platitudes and pr pleasantries? Freedom of Press is not just an opportunity but it’s an onus too. In-fact Dubai’s Print Media barons don’t seek ‘yellow journalism’. They are nervous of ‘government rules’ they just stick to ‘regional content’ that comes through the pr pipelines
Lizzie is right; unless there is something horrifically untrue or something which will endanger U A E’s economy or society there is zero interference from Government (especially for dailies). It’s largely the PR Companies and Clients who ‘fear being reprimand’ (by whom one never knows), they prefer to put their money in magazines where banal by-lines don’t question the regional process.
But this is all about to change. Competition and convergence is at the core of this change. Today print media compete with more than each other (we have 180 officially printed publications, 5 English Dailies it competes cross media and cross formats. Internet, PC2, Blogs, Online Daily Editions, demographically enhanced TV channels and Radio Channels. Most importantly they come to our doorstep-FREE!
“Competition gives us the resistance we need to fly”. The things that are going to influence media most is- transparency and accountancy –and this is being pushed by the more cutting edge & professional publications for a rating system. This gives us an ‘official’ valuation system as well as validating claims of circulation, readership ratings, etc. It will plug the pressure on both the government laws as well as regional reportage but do you think our audiences are mature enough to handle these changes?

19 May, 2006 15:09  

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