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 Aarti Nagraj
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.