Authorities removed copies of the Sunday Times (London) from news shelves in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, over a report on Dubai’s debt problems, the Wall Street Journal reports:
“The National Media Council ordered the paper blocked by distributors without providing a reason, an executive at the paper in Dubai told Zawya Dow Jones.
“The Sunday Times edition available in the UAE on 29 November featured a double-page spread graphic illustrating Dubai’s ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum sinking in a sea of debt. The Times wasn’t given a reason for the block, or a timeframe when it will be lifted, the executive said.
“A government official in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, said that the picture of Sheik Mohammed, which accompanied a story entitled: The sinking of Dubai’s dream, was ‘offensive’.”
“There’s a deal you make when you become a journalist in the UAE: in exchange for a reasonable salary and a good position, you keep your nose out of meaty stories. If you don’t like it, you can leave,” writes Dana El Baltaji.
El Baltaji should know, having worked for Emirates Today (later Emirates Business 24/7) – a paper to challenge the status quo of censorship in the region, which according to this writer has ‘genuinely disappointed’ in this aim.
As such, will CNN’s new Abu Dhabi bureau report freely on the United Arab Emirates despite strict laws restricting coverage on the royal family and its businesses, asks this piece.
Martin Newland’s newspaper for the United Arab Emirates has gone live online and published its first edition.
Developing The National, which is owned Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), has involved an international recruitment drive by ex-Telegraph editor Newman with journalists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times and The Daily Telegraph joining the team.
Around 200 staff will work to produce the website and 80-page paper, which will initially run from Friday to Sunday.