موقع إخباري يهتم بفضائح و انتهاكات دولة الامارات

The Economist: The UAE silences the press with repression and intimidation

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The Economist attacked the UAE vigorously against the backdrop of its permanent ruling regime’s attempts to silence the press through repression and intimidation.

The magazine said that the UAE had enacted laws prohibiting the publication of news that affects the social system. It has also monitored journalists and hacked their phones through malicious software, such as Pegasus, the Israeli system capable of eavesdropping and hacking mobile phones.

The magazine pointed out that last summer, the UAE closed down the local newspaper, Al-Ru’ya, and expelled its editor and several journalists working for it when it published news about cheap fuel prices in Oman.

It stated that all it took at the time was a report comparing the price hike in the UAE with the cheaper gasoline available in neighbouring Oman for the UAE authorities to immediately remove the article in Al-Ruya newspaper from the newspaper’s website.

The magazine indicated that the UAE authorities decided to dismiss the editor-in-chief and dozens of journalists from the newspaper, and within weeks it was closed.

“If you work for a government institution, you have to follow the line of the institution,” one UAE government official explained. Across the Arab world, it is becoming increasingly accurate that the only news allowed is good news.

According to the magazine, the tyrants who swept through the Arab Spring in 2011 flattered and intimidated the last independent Arab press, turning journalists into mere mouthpieces. The last checks on their unchecked power were silenced.

Autocratic regimes, including the UAE, buy advertising agencies so that delinquent newspapers can immediately be deprived of revenue. Then, as money dried up, independent outlets were hijacked by governments or their cronies.

Some regimes have passed laws banning news deemed disturbing to social stability. In addition, journalists are being tracked with spyware like Pegasus, an Israeli-made system that allows government agents to hack into their communications. And more journalists, as a last resort, are locked up.

Independent journalists in the Arab world sometimes fear for their lives. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a watchdog, the killing and dismemberment of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has frightened many of his peers into silence.

Wealthy Arab regimes have long funded the media in exchange for coverage that flattered them. But the fall of such tyrants and the turmoil of others in the region left countries like the UAE to dominate the Arab market.

It is noteworthy that the UAE recorded a sharp decline in the World Press Freedom Index issued by Reporters Without Borders, ranking 138 for the year 2022, seven places behind last year’s ranking.

Reporters Without Borders said that in the UAE, by muzzling dissenting voices, the government is curbing the independent press, whether local or foreign.

The organization indicated that expatriate Emirati journalists might be harassed or arrested and sometimes even handed over to the authorities of their country.