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26 September, 2007

Other measures

It would be lovely to hail this as a landmark victory for press freedom in the UAE:

Abu Dhabi/Dubai: In a victory for freedom of the press in the UAE, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday issued instructions that journalists in the country will not be jailed for doing their work.

The announcement was made by Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the National Media Council (NMC).

Shaikh Abdullah said Shaikh Mohammad issued instructions that no journalist is to be jailed for reasons related to his work, adding that there are other measures that may be taken against journalists who break the press and publication law, but not jail, WAM reported.

Except for the fact that "other measures" sounds infinitely more terrifying than a free stay at the Al Wathba Hilton*.

*rated 7 stars by DTCM. For holiday bookings and special offers please contact

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wish they put bloggers such as yourself in jails & then kick you out to where the hell you came from....sob

26 September, 2007 21:16  
Blogger Dubai Jazz said...

wtf? SD why do you allow for such comments to be moderated?

you've not been proliferate recently, what's up? :)

26 September, 2007 21:36  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Yes I would normally delete it, but it made me laugh to think of someone going to the trouble of writing it when they apparently hate bloggers like me so much ;)

I have been on holiday hence the silence. Dial-up internet is not the best for blogging. Thank god I have broadband back!

26 September, 2007 21:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt whoever came up with this promo offer of 'freedom of the press' understands what freedom is all about, let alone talk about press freedom!

One of those PR gigs with more to come in time.

The Hilton reference is unique & cool. The only difference at this 7-star joint is to Q up for leftovers instead of room service!

I'll pass!

26 September, 2007 22:04  
Blogger Dubai Jazz said...

Oh, welcome back!...didn't know you were away...
btw, I meant to say 'prolific' instead of 'proliferate', see how spelling has deteriorated in your absence?:)

27 September, 2007 00:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looks like the average sandman has secretdubai on his/her favorites list ...

oh & btw this goes along with the all time fav... Dubai Cares ...

27 September, 2007 09:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the cases on that website are a pity.

27 September, 2007 12:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"i wish they put bloggers such as yourself in jails & then kick you out to where the hell you came from....sob"

Oooh, such anger. Are you a Sandperson?

27 September, 2007 22:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hes just the person not used to freedom of speech

28 September, 2007 00:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the joke was in poor taste. Cmon u can do better.

28 September, 2007 00:46  
Blogger screwed.mind said...

SD, may I know what exactly has to be hailed here? Not putting journalists in jail but deporting them is freedom of speech ? or applying self censorship or pre-publication screening is freedom?

Hypocrisy of this statement is striking with the one we hear on a daily basis from the neighbor across Persian Gulf!

28 September, 2007 01:03  
Blogger MuFi101 said...

*other measures??

gulp! erm..... what measures?

28 September, 2007 03:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It could be called a 'victory' if the people plead for freedom of press .. but that's how it works in UAE , desicions made by one moody man !

28 September, 2007 15:11  
Blogger Emirati said...

the other measures that they speak of are libel charges, lawsuits, etc. and you could get sued by someone if you lash out against them, esp if it is a member of the royal family.

Kind of like if i say "fuck the useless English whore-queen" in Speakers corner in Hyde park, I get fined/goto jail.

28 September, 2007 15:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Emirati - You will NOT be fined not go to Jail.

There have been such comments in the past and no has gotten into trouble.

Just check out some of the comediens and comics. They rip into the monarchy quite a bit. Will never see that happening here (or in the Middle East) due to the rulers egor.


28 September, 2007 17:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could say "fuck the useless English whore-queen" in Speakers corner in Hyde park - but nobody would take any notice. You might get a few odd looks.

For a counter experiment, you could go to that tall vulgar hotel near the sea in Dubai and in the lobby shout "The Maktoum family are a bunch of unelected Bedouin autocrats who have milked their country out of $ billions and they should be replaced by a democratically elected body as soon as possible." That would get you a few laughs.

28 September, 2007 18:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mmmmm, "other measures", I wonder what they could be? Some one will crash your car, and it will take ages to fix, and you will not find a rental car where ever you go, you wonder why? The AC in your office is always malfunctioning, and it takes ages for the tea boy to come. Suddenly, no invitations for dinners in 5 stars hotels, and where ever you go, no one will agree to make an interview. If you are late 5 minutes, you will be called by your boss, to chat about life, of course. They will send you to Iraq with their sincere wishes for a safe trip and a big smile on their face, unfortunately due to lack of money they can't provide you with a vest and a body gaurd. or because you are a hard working journalist, you recieve a nice gift, an air ticket to your beloved home to celebrate your coming soon birthday, you just wonder, why its only one-way ticket!!

28 September, 2007 19:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD, do you know Sami Al Haj? He is a photographer who was working with Al Jazeera Tv. He is detained in Guantanamo for 5 years now, and still did not recieve an official trial. Imagine yourself detained in Burj Al Arab Royal suite (not al wathba hotel) for 5 years, Would you be a happy person? Regarding myself, I won't.

29 September, 2007 04:17  
Blogger hut said...

journalists in the country will not be jailed for doing their work.

Journalists in the UAE were never jailed for doing their work.

Given that their job description consists primarily of sandal-licking, mis-spelling and Israel-bashing, they have been doing their job exceedingly well already.

29 September, 2007 15:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice weblog with cool comments.. made me laugh anyway!

29 September, 2007 16:43  
Blogger M. Majora said...


Bash Islam, it'll be your head, amirite?
lol @ UAE censorship of the interwebs

30 September, 2007 02:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, they CAN go to jail...
"The immunity against imprisonment is limited to journalists doing their job when they report factual incidents. The immunity will not be enforced in case they harm others while expressing their personal views."
(From a "clarification" in today's Gulf News - has anything really changed?)

30 September, 2007 06:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who has, more than once, been threatened with jail for even being at the scene of a news story, this is a welcome move - it might even encourage a few of the less progressive papers out here to take a chance or two and run the odd story that isn't entirely positive. I've got a copy of the Gulf News piece in my wallet as insurance against overzealous CID...
Oh, and Nick? Fuck you. It must be nice and easy to criticize from the sidelines. Ok, most of us, like you, want to enjoy life and do our jobs without getting deported (and going broke in the process), but I know of one Indian journo who has gone to jail at least twice for trying to report honestly - in one instance left there to rot for a week by his editor because his visit to a labour camp was "unauthorized". You work in papers here, you walk a line - I'm just glad the tightrope seems a little wider now.

01 October, 2007 13:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me chime in with Bukowski, for someone that has also been threatened with jail for ”only having the potential“ to publish something critical about the UAE in recognized international journals (never did in the past and never anticipated to – just too insignificant!) the situation is intolerable.
Especially for EMIRATI: Please do not be so ignorant to the prevalent “Realpolitik” in the UAE! Other measures – besides those that you mentioned - may also mean torture (psychological or physical) to either extract information or scare people into silence. Of course the UAE is not the only country in the world doing this (Iran, China or Russia may serve as good examples), but in my personal opinion the situation in consideration of the outside pressure for political reform is becoming increasingly worse.

BTW in Germany will ask for a civil lawsuit if you call anyone a “whore” – it is an insult and the concerned person may ask for compensation.

Magic Bus – wow, “great description” – mmhhh, but the only reason you will get laughs is because your audience will most likely be foreign and be of the non “sandal licking” :-) kind. As you may have noticed the nationals in the absence of any critical thought are idolizing their leaders and this phenomenon falls into the same bracket of worshipping material wealth and tribal authority as you can see in many other extremely underdeveloped countries.

01 October, 2007 17:47  

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