Introduction to Dubai News Media
Dubai is the biggest city in UAE and a major trading center of the world. It is naturally home to a big section of the UAE media. The inauguration of the Dubai Media City and Internet City in 2002 has become transformative for the media landscape in UAE. Media companies from across the world have set up in Dubai as a result. The Government of Dubai has also invested in the media sector themselves: DMI (Dubai Media Incorporated is the official media organization of Dubai Govt. DMI owns a number of outlets such as Al Bayan, Emarat Al Youm, Emirates 24/7 and Dubai One among the others. Dubai is home to the biggest Private Sector newspapers such as Gulf News, Khaleej Times.
The reason why the media in Dubai get such a big pre-eminence compared to the media in other cities in the Middle East region is because of the western exposure the city enjoys. Dubai is home to large number of expatriates from across the globe who resides in Dubai. A large and varied media sector is needed to cater to the wide variety of communities residing in Dubai and this means that the newspapers in Dubai also reflect a more open world view compared to the more restrictive media sector in other cities in the region. That said the Media based in Dubai also comes under the same strict censorship regime of UAE Government that is in place in the rest of the country. Media here enjoys very little autonomy when it comes to reporting any criticism of the governments in the region.
We have listed down all the top newspapers or online news websites of Dubai below in the following categories:
A. Arabic newspapers and online news websites of Dubai.
B. English newspapers and online news website of Dubai.
C. Filipino newspapers and online news website of Dubai.
D. Malayalam Newspapers of Dubai.
A. Arabic newspapers of Dubai
Arabic is the official language of Dubai and the most commonly spoken language by the subjects of the Emirate of Dubai. Dubai is a major financial and trading centre in the Middle East and the city is also home to very popular Arabic newspapers such as Al Bayan, Emarat Al Youm. Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI), a Dubai government owned entity, is a major company in the Arabic media sector of Dubai.
Al Bayan is an Arabic language daily newspaper. It comes directly under the umbrella of Dubai Media Incorporated which itself is a Dubai Government Owned entity. After its establishment in 198O the paper functioned as part of Dubai Government’s media department till 2003. In 2003 Al Bayan was moved to a new media group called Arab media Group and also rebranded with a new-look design to its paper layout. In 2009, the Dubai government again reorganised its media holdings, creating a new holding entity called Dubai Media Incorporated. Al Bayan got shifted to DMI in this process.
Emarat Al Youm.
Emarat Al Youm is an Arabic language daily that is part of the Dubai Media Incorporated Group. The name of the newspaper means Emirates Today.
It was originally released with an aim to create an identical bi-lingual newspaper –Arabaic and English that covered the same content in the two languages. That experiment was not successful with the English language version failing to notch up significant amount of readership.
The first edition of Emarat Al Youm came on September 19, 2005. The newspaper focuses on the local news. Emarat Al Youm proved to be popular for its focus on social issues and community level problems. Unlike others they focused less on government issues and political problems.
Dubai Sports is owned by Dubai Media Corporation. They publish sports related news in Arabic Language online. Dubai Sports was launched in 1998. They also have a Sports TV channel.
B. English newspapers and online news websites of Dubai
Dubai is home to a huge English language media sector. With both Gulf News and Khaleej Times based in the city, Dubai has two of the biggest English newspapers in the whole region operating from it. Being a major trading hub and financial centre, Dubai has a cosmopolitan residential population which provides English newspapers a laarge reader base to tap into. English Newspapers of Dubai also has an international readership extending from South Asia to North America.
Gulf News is the most popular English Newspaper from Dubai. It has a daily circulation of 108,187 (in 2012). Gulf News is published outside UAE, such as in other GCC countries. They have foreign bureaus in Manila, Oman and New Delhi, to name a few. Gulf News is well known around the world and is read by a wide range of people who don’t reside in UAE. In many ways Gulf News is considered as the voice of the city to outside world due to its legacy and fame. Its reports are well circulated in the internet and have a degree of credibility unlike other newspapers of the region. Gulf News is well known for its wide coverage of news in South Asia, even local news in states like Kerala.
Al Nisr Publishing owns and publishes Gulf News; this media group is also based in Dubai.
Emirates24/7.com is a digital media outlet owned by the Dubai Media Incorporated. Thus Emirates 24/7 is a sister outlet to other DMI owned properties such as Al- Bayan and Emarat Al Youm newspapers. Emirates 24/7 provides real time reports with focus on UAE, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Gulf Region. It is published in English language.
Time Out Dubai.
Time Out Dubai lifestyle media brand that is published in Dubai by ITP Media. Time Out is published in countries across the globe under license from the Time Out Group in London.
Time Out Dubai is bilingual – has publications in Arabic and English but the news reports in both these editions are the same.
Time Out’s main edition is the one in English language because the publication is geared to satisfy the western and foreign travellers and residents of the city. They focuses on the cultural aspects of the city – publishes reports related to Dubai’s s art, food, night life, and shopping scenes plus details about luxury, tourism attractions.
Khaleej Times is UAE’s oldest and longest running English daily newspaper. It is published by Galadari Printing and Publishing. Khaleej Times is partly owned by the UAE Government, around 30% of its shares are owned by the Government with the rest with its publisher. Khaleej Times initially began as a partnership between the UAE government, the Galadari Brothers and the Dawn Group of Companies. It started being published in 16 April 1978.
Khaleej Times distribution also covers neighbouring countries of UAE such as Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia through a dedicated distribution network. The newspaper consists of special reports and supplements such as Young Times, KT Buzzon, WKND Magazine, KT Spotlight.
Al Arabia is Dubai based media outlet. It operates under the Saudi owned holding company called Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC).
After Al-Jazeera, owned and operating from Qatar, started doing news stories that brought embarrassment to Saudi Royal family, the Saudis decided that they should have a regional broadcaster that could counter Al-Jazeera.
Al Arabiya was established in Dubai’s Media City in 2002. Al Arabiya’s online website is available in 4 languages – Arabic, English, and Urdu which is spoken in India and Pakistan and Farsi.
The Arabian Post
The Arabian Post is a Dubai based online publication. They produce content in English. The Arabian Posts collects content from networks around the world in addition to original contributions and analysis by staff. The Arabian Post’s reports are drawn from a variety of sources such as wire services, global newspapers, international magazines and popular online news websites.
Dubai Xpress is published by Al Nisr Group. Currently a part of Gulf News
Dubai Chronicle is an entertainment news website owned by New Media Group.
C. Filipino newspapers and online news website of Dubai
Dubai has the largest population of Filipino expatriates in UAE. Filipinos are people who are native to the country of Philippines. An estimated 450,000 Filipinos live in Dubai, forming 21.3% of the population of the city. Filipino newspapers, Kabayan and The Filipino Times are both published in English language which is an official language of Philippines.
Kabayan is a weekly newspaper published in UAE. It is the first Filipino newspaper in the UAE. The newspaper targets UAE’s growing population of Filipino expatriates. It has a circulation of 50,000 copies that are distributed across the country. The weekly newspaper has 32 pages and is published every Thursday.
The Filipino Times.
This is the biggest Filipino newspaper in UAE and caters to the large Filipino community that resides in the city. The newspaper is distributed for free and thus has a huge reach and circulation number. It has a circulation figure of around 60,000 and an estimated readership base of 250,000 per week. The Filipino Times website gets around 2.5 million visitors per month. The newspaper’s tagline “We are where the Filipinos are” reflects its unique distribution strategy. The newspaper is distributed in Filipino community centres such as churches, schools, train stations, inside Philippines bound airplanes.
D. Malayalam newspapers of Dubai.
Malayalam is the language spoken by the huge number of Malayalee expatriate community in Dubai. Most of the Malayalam Newspapers in circulation in UAE is published from Dubai. There are at least 4 popular Malayalam Newspapers in circulation in Dubai with two of them having exclusive editions specifically for Dubai.
Dubai Media City is the biggest river for the growth of the media industry in Dubai. Since its establishment, the approval process of media licensing has become easier and simpler.
“There were no special licences for foreign newspapers here. We used to often operate without proper documents of approval. It was an effort to get an approval to print and circulate here…Everything is now legalised with proper licences for operation of foreign newspapers,” – K Hamzaha Abbas, Gulf Madhyamam, Chief Editor.
Going forward the media industry faces the challenge of adapting to new mediums of communications such as internet and social media and tackling the declining advertisement revenue in both print and online. Decline of traditional print media is an ongoing process and the key fo the newspapers is to make up for this loss attracting new digital users. UAE’s harsh censorship laws is another barrier to growth of media in the city. Censorship means that the news content produced by media houses in the country has less value and eyeballs outside the country. This plays a huge part in denying some of the traditional English media companies in Dubai the lucrative revenue stream of western countries.