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Bashing the Dubai-bashers

Bashing the Dubai-bashers

The emirate has just established a media office to spread the good word around, and try and curb negative reports about Dubai.

June 14, 2009 12:38 by

Dubai’s fall was foretold by several media reports across the world in the last few months, thanks to the effect of the financial crisis on the city. And from the financial crisis, it spread to other things, like the poor living conditions in labor camps in the city, allegations of fraud, the social and cultural laws in the city, and so on. In fact the trend became so popular that a new term called “Dubai-bashing” was coined.

“Dubai-bashing is in fashion right now,” an official from Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai told Time magazine a few months ago.

While the emirate acted on some of the accusations made in media reports – it promised to be more transparent, called for strict regulations about the conditions of labor camps, and introduced regulations for the real estate sector – the foreign press barely reported these changes.

It is no surprise, therefore, that Dubai decided to start a Dubai Media Affairs Office called “Brand Dubai”, which, according to the UAE official news agency WAM, will “coordinate Dubai’s strategic media affairs regionally and internationally.”

“The new office will work on preserving and enhancing Dubai’s image as an Arab city of international spirit and sensibility. The Dubai Media Affairs Office will encourage maximum exposure for Dubai’s continuing achievements on economic, cultural and social matters,” reported WAM.

The office will also increase “the media’s accessibility to accurate information on various subjects related to Dubai, and facilitating greater interaction with Dubai government officials.”

In other words, the office will give Dubai positive PR.

“Yes, I can say the office was set up as Dubai needs an organization that can handle the campaigns launched against the country,” Mona Al Marri, the CEO of the newly-formed body told the Arabic-language daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

While she said that the office had not yet taken legal action against organizations that tainted the emirate’s reputation, she added that they would undertake some measures when inaccurate negative media reports appeared, such as following up on stories and responding with facts.

“We don’t currently have someone doing that, and we’ll be dealing with specialized international firms to know what track to follow,” she said.

Al Marri has also said that the body “will not act as a censor of news organizations in Dubai Media City.”

Will Brand Dubai manage to change the city’s image abroad? We’re not sure.

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  1. Jim on June 14, 2009 1:35 pm

    Isn’t that part of the remit of the DTCM?
    Either way, let’s hope it doesn’t become a vehicle to sell real estate.

    The fact is Dubai is a fantastic place to live and work. It creates opportunities that may not be available in our homelands, whether it be London or Mumbai. But like everywhere, it isn’t perfect.

  2. William Clark on June 15, 2009 7:25 am

    W hen are people going to realise this is an Arab country owned and run by
    Locals the Laws and customs are well known if we choose to work or visit
    We must accept the local Law Customs if we think we are superior and our
    home laws should apply STAY AT HOME IN YOUR COUNTRY.
    I have worked in UAE for many years as in all places there is good and bad
    in all races good and bad Remember only the bad seem to be newsworthy
    In many of these cases the people concerned could if they behaved have received a warning and no more said but i suppose they may have been superior?.

  3. abu Buscu on June 15, 2009 7:52 am

    Show them they are wrong by acting, not by talking.

    Enough Tufnis !

  4. Reluctant Basher on June 15, 2009 11:33 am

    Agreed everyone knows the rules (or would be wise to at least look them up) prior to landing in Dubai. A little common-sense would also go a long way to making the trasition easier.

    However, NO WHERE in the world (well, except perhaps in Dubai…) have I seen the cowboy/wild-west goings on as I have here.
    I am a law-abiding resident. I dont want trouble. I want to do my work, enjoy my weekends, mix with friends on occassion and look after my family. For this, I will work hard and maintain professionalism at all times.

    Why then is it only in this city of Dubai (bearing in mind this is not the 1st place I have lived, having stayed in every major European and African city out there too) that I find myself being ripped-off, used and taken advantage of as I have here?

    WHERE IN THE WORLD does your employer give you a warning letter for asking for payment of your (late) salary? The fact one even has to ask?
    WHERE IN THE WORLD have you heard of ‘wasta’ (google the term people!) changing the rules of a traffic accident so that if a more ‘connected’ individual slams into your car from the rear and it was clearly their fault, the cause of the traffic accident could then be placed on you, the innocent party, just because you dont have the same connections?
    WHERE IN THE WORLD do you find one set of rules for one group of people and none for another? Surely rules are there for EVERYones protection & civil liberty?
    Why is there no accesible, organised union to protect workers rights?
    What about abuse? Where is the organised charity for these victims with the appropriate facilities to help them?
    Why is only good news reported in the news when clearly the reality is something different? Censoring news will not make it go away (contrary to belief around these parts…)
    How come a ‘crook’ here makes millions yet honest, hard-working and loyal individuals lose everything?
    What about local (men, mostly) queue jumping at the supermarket in front of heavily pregnant woman, elders or others who are waiting their turn in the queue and going right to the front ‘just because they can?’. Surely their mothers taught them manners and respect for others too?
    And the list goes on…

    No Dubai, if you want to be taken seriously on the world stage and not get ‘bashed’ best you and your people also start treating the rest of the worlds citizens with the respect you always go on about, the same respect your law-abiding residents have afforded you. Do this and you may find those people lamenting their woes to family back home, who report it to their (free) press would be more willing to change their tune and sing you a much sweeter song.

    We are not trying to be arrogant nor do we do not consider ‘our’ ways better, this is one of the reasons we came here in the 1st place, to learn about other cultures. The basics of human dignity are the same anywhere in the world and sadly, Ive not learnt one good thing about that in Dubai :-(

  5. SM on June 15, 2009 5:21 pm

    There is only one reason people reside in the UAE which is tax free over inflated wages easy money, hence no communal bonds or attachment therefore no community and societal development. Locals hate their culture being subsumed but sell it for the dollar and loathe everyone else for their own greed.

    most expats are parasitical who will find another host country when the petrodollars run out. As the Proverb goes “you deserve one another” only upside is the rest of the world do not have to suffer you

  6. vasudev on June 17, 2009 3:58 pm

    This is soooo funny… i think the coinage ‘Brand Dubai’ is ridiculous… What is Dubai, a STORE???? For christ’s sake, it is a city with living breathing people who have living breathing issues…. it CANNOT and SHOULD not be treated like a ‘BRAND’ for heaven’s sake. It cheapens itself wehn it likens itself to that. It is OK to promiote Dubai as a tourism destination…. but to CONTROL bad press that emnates from things like the bursting of the real estate bubble is another matter! Wake up things like that affect people and when you have invested in a place YOU Have a right to know! Plus one senior government official i met had said Dubai is like a carpet…. everything is being dealt with as it is being rolled out…. Is that the way to manage affairs?


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