The United Arab Emirates (UAE) continued to decline sharply in the world ranking of press freedom and was lagged behind in the annual report of Reporters Without Borders.
According to the report of the International Organization for the year 2019 that the UAE was ranked 133 out of 180 countries around the world after winning 43.63 points out of 100 points.
This means that the UAE has lost five full positions from last year’s same report, which ranked Abu Dhabi as the 128th place on freedoms in the world.
This is a new scandal for the UAE regime, which promotes freedom of expression and raises the banner of tolerance and human rights in a propaganda context that bears no resemblance to reality, as evidenced by periodic reports issued by international organizations.
Reporters Without Borders said in its report: “The United Arab Emirates have become masters of the online surveillance of journalists, who often fall victim to its 2012 cyber-crime law.”
“The least criticism of the regime by citizen-journalists or bloggers is likely to lead to charges of defamation, insulting the state or posting false information with the aim of damaging the country’s reputation, with the possibility of long jail terms and mistreatment in prison.”
The organization referred to the case of UAE journalist Osama Najjar, who was suspended in 2014 and still behind bars, although he ended the sentence in March 2017.
The organization warned that although the UAE Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, the system can censor local or foreign publications whenever it includes criticism of domestic politics, ruling families, religion, the country’s relations with its partners and the country’s economy, under the 1980 law on printed matter and publications.
In its report, the international organization highlighted the online surveillance in the UAE to restrict freedom of opinion, expression and systematic repression.
In its 2017report, Reporters Without Borders criticized the UAE’s internal and external violations against media freedom.
The organization’s annual report highlighted that the UAE witnessed the arrest of journalist Ahmad Mansour in 2017 and put him in solitary confinement for defaming the country on social media by publishing “false information, rumors and lies”.
The organization referred to presenting the UAE journalist Mansour to a secret trial and imposed arbitrary restrictions on freedom of press and media.