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The UAE’s ranking in the world press freedom index has fallen by more than 15 places since 2008. Why?

October 21, 2009 1:38 by

Press freedom in the UAE has deteriorated further, with the country falling to the 86th spot on the latest annual world press freedom index released by Reporters Without Borders on Tuesday.  The country, which shares its ranking with Uganda, was ranked 69 in 2008 and 67 in 2007.

However, the UAE has performed better than most others in the region; while Kuwait was ranked 60, Qatar 94, Oman 106, Bahrain 119, and lastly, Saudi Arabia was very close to the bottom of the index at 163.

One likely reason for the UAE’s declining press freedom ranking could be the draft media law that the country has been mulling over in the past year. In April 2009, New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report entitled Just the Good News, Please: New U.A.E. Media Law Continues to Stifle Press, in which it urged the UAE government to review the draft media law. The report claimed that the draft law had several irregularities, and that it would promote self-censorship among journalists.

The HRW report was mainly concerned with article 32, which penalizes journalists up to AED5 million for ‘disparaging’ government officials, and article 33, which penalizes journalists up to AED500,000 for harming the nation’s image and reporting ‘misleading’ information on the economy.

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  1. Beyond on October 22, 2009 6:35 am

    I do agree that the media is very much muted here. and thank you Aarti for sharing these information as I think you were brave enough to write about it.

  2. Justic on October 23, 2009 8:25 pm

    UAE & Dubai in particular is shooting itself in the foot for covering the truth and mistakes by government officials. Its high time dubai officials statrted respecting the foreign investors and their basic rights. There are hundreds of cases of fraud by government companies and ruling family companies but the very authorities in charge of investigating such fraud are covering them up. It is realy sad that there is double standards ina country which pretends to be fair and transparent.


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