Step off my editorial integrity
When CNN launched its new hub in Abu Dhabi, journalists questioned whether the network would bow to the UAE’s censorship laws.
November 8, 2009 3:19 by Dana El Baltaji
However, Rani Raad, head of CNN‘s commercial arm in the region launch, insists that the network will not accept any form of censorship:
“In our time in Dubai for the past seven years, we have never been censored and have been reporting our news freely. And should we feel that there’s censorship in Abu Dhabi, we’ll simply pack up and leave. It’s very simple. CNN‘s editorial credibility will not come under question and will not be compromised.”
“We’re unwavering on that point,” he added.
That’s what they all say; however, unlike local publishing houses, CNN doesn’t rely purely on local advertising to keep its business going. And while it’s invested heavily in its Abu Dhabi hub (Raad wouldn’t disclose how much), closing down its new office due to editorial restrictions wouldn’t shut the network down worldwide.
In short, local publishing houses have more to lose, but that’s nothing new.
What I’m curious to see is whether CNN will tackle stories many consider off-limits, like hotels that sell alcohol illegally in Abu Dhabi, or the shocking number of unreported honor crimes throughout the UAE. Or even the shaddy dealings of a construction company owned by a royal.
If they can report such stories without getting banned or censored, then that journalist from Gulf News was right to ask about job openings.