Introduction to UAE News Media
UAE media has grown since 1970 when the country gained independence from the British. The first newspaper in UAE is the government owned Al Etihad. Al Etihad was started in 1969 at a time when the country was still under the protectorate status of the British. In 1970 Al Khaleej was started by Taryam Omran along with his brother Abdullah Omran Taryam. Since then the media sector in UAE has expanded leaps and bounds and now cover several languages including Malayalam, Tamil, English, Russian, and Chinese in addition to the native Arabic language. The two prominent languages for the UAE media remain Arabic and English.
important factor to keep in mind is the difference between Arab and
English-speaking newspapers in the region. For example, there are a few Arab newspapers printed in English but they are
intended for non-Arabs living in the Middle East so their news and editorial
content are quite different from the media in Arabic.
The inauguration of the Dubai Media City and Internet City in 2002 proved to be transformative for the media landscape in UAE. Soon more International Media organizations set up shop in the Desert Sheikhdom. Media entities from around the globe built some of the best offices in DMC, which helped change the image of the country. The paper work got simplified and formalized leading to greater compliance.
“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.
In a 2009
survey, a market research company said that the cost of daily newspapers
was AED 2 ($.50), and satellite dishes were available across the country for
about $50. Modern telecommunications infrastructure makes it possible for
residents to obtain affordable high-speed Internet connectivity, and the
availability of Internet cafés has made access to the Internet fairly
affordable even for low-income labourers.”
There are three region-specific roles are emerging in UAE Media.
1. The Change Agent
It is characterized by an overtly activist approach to journalism aimed at political or societal change.
2. The Guardian
It contains a significant defensive aspect and involves a set of roles associated with the defence of Arab and/or Islamic causes”.
3. The Loyalist
This role is widely adopted by journalists in the Gulf region, it overlaps with both the Change Agent and the Guardian role, depending on the attitudes of the corresponding royal families.
A defining feature of UAE media is the strict state censorship of the local media. According to UAE’s Federal Law, National Media Council (NMC) is the federal government body entrusted to oversee and undertake the media affairs in the United Arab Emirates. NMC scope straddles traditional media including newspapers and magazines, and digital media platforms. NMC is affiliated with the UAE Cabinet and head-quartered in the national capital, Abu Dhabi.
NMC issues licences to media institutions and follows up on all printed, published and broadcast media content in the country and those imported from abroad.
All media organisations in the UAE must comply with the regulations and rules issued by NMC and provide information and data as requested by it.
Censorship in UAE is very tight. The news critical about the government, the royal families and ruling social power structures are barred. News critical about foreign governments that are closely allied to UAE is also limited.
Picture Source: NMC Website.
UAE has a thriving online media sector thanks to the proliferation of the
Internet. Online media has started threatening the traditional media formats
and now nearly all the major newspapers in UAE have significant online
Online media sector in UAE also have to operate under strict regulation. They must obtain a media licence from the National Media Council in order to continue functioning. Those in violation of this regulation will be fined minimum of Dh 5,000 or have their websites shut down. The websites of the traditional media outlets such as newspapers, television, radio and magazines who already have taken a media licence do not need to secure the online licence.
We have listed down all the top newspapers or online news websites of United Arab Emirates below in the following categories:
A. Arabic newspapers and online news websites of UAE.
B. News Agencies of UAE
C. English newspapers and online news website of UAE
D. Malayalam Newspapers in UAE
E. Filipino Newspapers
A. Arabic newspapers and online news websites of UAE.
Arabic is the official language of UAE and the most popular language in the entire region of Middle East. The first Arabic newspaper was introduced in 1969, it was called Al Itthad. An year later Al Khaleej started its circulation. UAE’s Arabic Daily newspapers and news websites cater to the entire region, well beyond its national borders. Also conversely the Arab newspapers from the nearby gulf countries get wide circulation inside UAE.
Al Bayan is an Arabic language daily newspaper. It is completely owned by Dubai Government through its holding company Dubai Media Incorporated.
Al Bayan was established in 198O as a pro loyalist newspaper to the Dubai regime. Since then till 2003 the paper functioned as part of Dubai Government’s media department.
In 2003 the government reorganised the media holdings in the country. Al Bayan, as a result was moved to Arab Media Group where it was rebranded. The paper got a new look – it started getting printed wholly in colour. The changes in the newspaper’s style were meant to attract a younger audience, but this wasn’t particularly successful.
In 2009 Al Bayan was incorporated into Dubai Media Incorporated as part of the larger industry wide merger.
Al Bayan reports on Local, National, Arab and International news. The newspaper is known for its
critical coverage and political views of events in Arab world, despite it being an official newspaper of government of Dubai. Al Bayan
has a daily edition for Pakistan.
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 on an experimental basis with an English subsidiary as well that employed the same set of reporters and writers. The aim was to create an identical bi-lingual newspaper that covered the same content in two languages. That experiment however failed with the English language version failing to notch up significant amount of readership.
The first issue of Emarat Al Youm came on September 19, 2005. The newspaper focuses on the local affairs, and issues of interest to Arab readers in the United Arab Emirates. 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
In 2009 the Abu Dhabi Federal Court ordered suspension of the newspaper for 20 days because the newspaper ran a story in 2006 where in it made doping allegations against the thorough bred horses of the Abu Dhabi royal family. The editor was fined $5445 for same case. Paper got re-launched at the end of the suspension period.
Al Ittihad – the name means “The Union” in Arabic. Al- Ittihad is one the oldest running daily newspapers in UAE. It is also the largest in UAE today with over one hundred thousand in circulation according to a figure from 2013. It is completely government owned and is based in Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE.
The first issue of Al Ittihad came on 20th October 1969. From 20th April 1972 onwards the newspaper was published as a daily. The newspaper started its life as a 12-page weekly publication with a circulation of 5,500 copies. At that time it was published by Abu Dhabi Department of Information and Tourism. It was distributed as a free local newspaper to stand as competition to dailies from other Arab countries.
The newspaper is the first media publication in UAE to transfer press material via satellites. They did this in 1981 to avoid delays in publication for its then newly established press in Dubai.
Al Khaleej is a Sharjah based newspaper. When it launched in 1970 the newspaper was the first daily in UAE with the older Al Ittihad still being a weekly newspaper at that time.
Dar Al Khaleej is the publisher of the newspaper and was set up around the same time as the newspaper.
Due to financial distress, the newspaper shut down in 1972. It was later revived in 1979. In the 1980s the stock of the newspaper rose significantly. Adly Barsoum who served as the editor of the newspaper played a key role in this transformation. The newspaper quickly became one of the most widely read newspapers in the country.
Purchase of new printing equipment in the 90s further helped solidify their position in the market.
Al Khaleej is now widely read and along with Al Bayan is the top two Arabic Newspapers of the country.
24 Media is a digital publication that publishes news related to Arab and
UAE regions online. The 24 Media’s online website runs under the umbrella of
“24 Media Studies”.
Mission of the publication is to contribute to the formation of a “serious and sober media environment aimed at promoting the values of pluralism, tolerance, coexistence of cultures and rejection of intolerance”.
A defining feature of 24 Media is that it aggressively seeks to be part of the modern and sophisticated media landscape in order to take advantage of the best of the modern technologies in media and communication. They claim to adhere to credible and professional values and oppose the promotion of those things that violate the human values.
The team of 24 Media comprises of young journalists of majorly Emirati origin.
Al Roeya is an Arabic Publication based in Dubai. It was acquired by International Media Investment in 2018. The publication was extremely reduced for a year since the IMI takeover.
In 2019 Al Roeya re-launched as a digital first, youth focused, pan Arab Arabic multimedia news platform.
Al Roeya underwent a complete digital transformation. In this process they leveraged on artificial intelligence, the internet of things, smart applications to produce, target and distribute content.
Dubai Sports is a media
publication that is owned by Dubai Media Corporation. They publish news stories related
to sports in Arabic Language online. Dubai Sports was launched in 1998 to cover
local sports events in the UAE, their TV channel also had exclusive
Middle East broadcast rights for some of Dubai’s own sports events like the
Dubai World Cup.
This later expanded to include international sports for events like the Olympic Games and Wimbledon Tennis Tournament. The popularity Of Dubai Sports increased as it increased coverage of the UAE Football League, with live broadcast of matches and complimentary features, which interviewed fans of teams during and post matches.
Sky News Arabia
Sky News Arabia is a joint venture between UK-based Sky and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation (ADMIC), owned by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi Emirate ruling family. The JV was launched on May 6th 2012. It’s a 50-50 JN between both the parties. Adrian Wells, head of international news at Sky News, was appointed to lead the preparations to launch the outlet.
The media entity has on top of the fully featured website, a TV channel and a Radio broadcast service. It operates under the Sky UK brand.
Fujairah Today is based in the Emirate of Fujairah in UAE. It was established in 2011 and runs reports and stories in Arabic Language only.
The website is published by Fujairah Authority for Culture and Media, a government department of Fujairah. It was earlier known as Fujairah News before being renamed to its present title.
Fujairah Today is meant to be dependable reference for news of all the events and activities in the Emirate of Fujairah in particular. The website has different news sections such as Arab World and international, culture and media, education, sports, economy and more. Fujairah is also present in social media and regularly posts reports via Facebook and Twitter.
Thabbet is an online news aggregator. It seeks to aggregate the news produced in Arabic language from various sources in one home page.
Thabbet offers a social media service to users that help them discover the best Arabic news website sites and pages. It allows users to add summaries of some web pages and rate the links which helps in its rankings.
Thabbet does not have the ability to manually control the content and order of the posts. For the rankings, they rely entirely on the opinions.
Emaratyah is an Arabic online established in UAE in 2010. It enjoys credibility and transparency in monitoring news of interest to the Arab world and through a network of correspondents.
Emaratyah, since its establishment has been independent of other local and Arab newspapers. They have tried to stand apart as unique in their coverage of local news.
Emaratyah has innovated their content delivery platform by adopting instant communication platforms like Snapchat to reach out to a younger user base.
Arab Woman Platform
Arab Woman Platform is a bilingual- Arabic and English, online publication focused on bringing out the stories of Arab Women.
It was started by Amal Alharithi and Mira Khatib as a web publisher that told stories about the female society in the Arab world. They brought out articles that were for the benefit of women. It was envisioned at an outlet for women by women. Arab Woman Platform sought to debase some of the western perceptions about the women in Arab World.
Erem News is an independent news website based in UAE. They provide a coverage of all the political, economic, sports and cultural events in the Arab region and the world. Erem News specialise in publishing short video content drawn from reporters and social media users. They share the video content in their Instagram and Facebook Page regularly. But their website features plenty of written reports as well.
B. News Agencies of UAE.
UAE has no independent local news agencies except the government owned Emirates News Agency (WAM). Since WAM is focused only on Government functions, the local media publication uses the service of international news agencies like AFP and Reuters. Both the local media and International media based in UAE subscribe to these agencies and carry its stories on their platform.
Emirates News Agency (WAM)
Emirates News Agency (Wakalat Anba’a al Emarat) alternatively known as WAM is the official news agency of the United Arab Emirates. It was established in 1976 and is run by the government. WAM was set up to communicate news and information related to UAE, that was in 1977 a newly independent country.
On 18th June, 1977, WAM began transmitting news about UAE news to the rest of the world, covering all aspects of nation. WAM also reports about the foreign relations related activity by the UAE Govt including news about the wide-ranging diplomatic and humanitarian missions, delegations and exhibitions, etc.
The basic objective of WAM is to present a strong and accurate image of the UAE to the rest of the world. WAM has news exchange deals with other Government-run news agencies in the Gulf Region.
C. English newspapers and online news website of UAE
English is not just the global language. Even in Middle East region including UAE English has been the primary international language spoken due to the colonial era association the region had with British Empire. British Empire was the protectorate of the Arab Sheikhdoms in UAE before the region gained independence and formed the United Arab Emirates. Being a major trading centre and using the wealth from the Oil revenues, UAE transformed itself into a global hub for tourism, trade and arts and with English being the most popular International Language, naturally the importance of English Media in UAE grew. Another key driver for English media has been the huge migrant population of expatriates living in UAE from English speaking countries such as South Asian countries, and Philippines.
The National is an
Abu Dhabi based news publication. The newspaper was started on 17th April 2008
by Abu Dhabi Media. Initially it was owned by the
Government of UAE and had editorial staff numbering to about 200. The National
was designed to give Abu Dhabi an international voice. The National was
envisaged as a model newspaper for the media in Middle
East. It was printed in Western-inspired broadsheet format and manned by
highly talented staff from both western countries and the local area.
The paper was meant to cover stories of highest quality, similar to how premium western newspapers cover stories. The National was different from the rest of the newspapers in the country by having westerners as their main editors of different departments unlike its rival English Newspapers which employed Indian nationals in those positions.
The high hopes of becoming a flagship media company in Middle East subsided for National after a few years. The newspapers couldn’t beat the censorship and the stifling restrictions on reporting freedom causing it to lose a lot of its talented staff and reporters. The newspaper changed hands in 2016 when it was transferred to a private investor who re-launched the paper in 2017.
The newspaper continues to cater to the English speaking readers in UAE. The paper runs a lot of informative columns including a comment section where in writers from around the world are featured. The National is still led by western Editors who try to bring a certain western flair to the Middle Eastern English Language newspaper. The National is known for having a highly responsive editorial board who takes little time to respond to reader queries and submissions.
This newspaper does substantial foreign coverage with correspondents based in many major cities of the world. Despite facing a lot of headwinds and reduction in its ambition the newspaper continues to be seen as a leading light of the English News Media in UAE.
Gulf News is the oldest and most popular English daily newspaper of the country. It is based in Dubai and has a daily circulation of 108,187 (in 2012). Gulf News is published outside UAE too – in other GCC countries. They have bureaus in foreign cities like Manila, Oman and New Delhi.
GN was launched as a tabloid, on December 10, 1985. Gulf News was published six days a week at that time, with the first copy rolling off the press at 11am.
It was re–launched under the ownership by Al Nisr Publishing LLC and this marked the start of the success story at GN. In 2018 September the paper celebrated 40 years of circulation.
Gulf News has one
of the highest daily circulation figures compared to other
English newspapers in the Middle East and is easily the most well-known in
Middle East Region. The newspaper has done well to represent the voice of the
country in the world.
With the rise in the stature of UAE as an energy major and trading centre, as well its modern highly cosmopolitan nature of Dubai, Gulf News has seen its fame grow. They also have a significant online presence since the launch of their news website. Gulf News covers South Asian news well, because a huge chunk of their readership is from that region. Gulf News editorial is also dominated by hires from India particularly Kerala and Bengal because of which the newspaper does a lot of original reporting from these regions.
Thus Gulf News caters more towards the Asian readers and society in UAE unlike The National whose target is the more the up market European society and English speaking Arabs.
Khaleej Times is
UAE’s oldest and longest running English daily newspaper.
It is based in Dubai and published by Galadari Printing and
Publishing. UAE Government owns 30% stake in the company.
Khaleej Times editorial staff consists mostly of people from the Indian Subcontinent. Khaleej Times has offices in other countries including India, Pakistan and Oman.
In 2008 the newspaper carried out a change in focus to drive more international audience to its content. Till then the newspaper primarily was geared towards the Indian sub continental readers.
In addition to UAE, Khaleej Times also covers Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia through a dedicated distribution network. The newspaper consists of special reports and supplements. Other Supplements includes Young Times, KT Buzzon, WKND Magazine, KT Spotlight.
Khaleej Times circulation figures are not audited and it is estimated to be around 49,000 copies. Its online reach is very large and their website attracts a lot of traffic.
Arabian Business is a media publication that focuses exclusively on Business News and content related to the corporate and business sectors of UAE and Middle East at large.
Arabian Business employs around eighty journalists who are all based in
the Middle East and Europe. Arabian Business covers, aviation, hotel, construction,
banking, technology, leisure and SME in both English and Arabic. They operate on 24 hours shift and have morning and evening online newsletters to their subscribers apprising them of the important news pieces of the
Arabian Business is part of the ITP Media Group. It’s a group that specialises in Business publications for Middle East. Arabian Business’s sister publications include STARTUP, AB Lifestyle and AB CEO. Content related to these sister publications are also published in Arabian Business’s main portal.
AMEinfo is an online publisher focusing on content related to business news from the Middle East region. It is currently published by Media Quest.
website offers English and Arabic language daily news wires, editorial columns,
feature articles, reports, video and radio features, including business
directory information and event listings.
It’s a portal that specifically targets business executives of Middle East region and the company claims that they attract page views of more than 2.2 million executives. AMEinfo have a subscribed online user base of more than 125,000. AMEinfo.com was initially known as Arabian Modern Equipment.
They were incorporated in Abu Dhabi, February 1993 by Saif Al-Suwaidi and Klaus Lovgreen. The first version of the AMEInfo’s CD-ROM database of 125,000 companies was developed and compiled in late 1996 and sold around 10,000 copies. The company soon expanded its distribution by securing major sponsors. In 1999 shifted from CD-ROM to Internet Content and also started the web portal AME Info.
In 2013 AMEinfo and its sister website SME Info got acquired by Media Quest.
Dubai Xpress is published by Al Nisr Group. It is a sister paper to Gulf News. Dubai Xpress focuses on the local news but also covers entertainment and sports. It was launched on 2007 in a weekly Tabloid format. During the launch it had only one edition that was published in Dubai.
The newspaper’s layout was designed by Mario Garcia. The newspaper soon faced a slowdown and its independent website was merged into Gulf news. In 2013 the print edition of the paper was stopped and only the online website version remains.
Sport360 is a UAE based Sports newspaper publishing in English and Arabic. The Sport360 Newspaper is a 5-day a week issue inclusive of a Weekend Edition. They cover sports news from international areas as well as that of UAE. Their website features news stories in both the languages but they don’t cover the same story simultaneously in both the languages. Sport360 is leading source of sports information and a guide for the region’s sporting events and academies.
Emirates24/7.com is a digital media outlet that is part of the Dubai Media Incorporated. DMI is a Dubai government owned media house that is also home to the popular 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 and operates in social media platforms and mobile applications.
Time Out Dubai.
Time Out Dubai is a
global lifestyle media brand that is published in the emirate of Dubai by
ITP Media. Time Out is published across multiple continents under license
from the Time Out Group in London.
Time Out Dubai is bilingual and has publications in both Arabic and English but the news reports in both these editions are not exactly 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 news stories and reports related to Dubai’s splendid art, food, night life, shopping scene, luxury, tourism attractions etc.
ITP Media publishes Time Out in other nearby cities in GCC like for example Muscat.
Gulf Today is an English language
broadsheet newspaper that is published from Sharjah. It is a sister publication of Al-
Khaleej, a leading Arabic newspaper of
UAE. The newspaper was launched on 15 April 1996 by brothers Taryam
Omran Taryam and Abdullah
Omran Taryam who
also started Al-Khaleej.
Gulf Today has an all colour supplement magazine called Panorama that is distributed for free along with the newspaper on weekends.
Al Arabia is a Saudi owned by Dubai based Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC) which is under Saudi ownership. MBC also operates TV channels along with its internet publication business.
Reason why Al Arabiya was started
was because the Saudis wanted a regional broadcaster that could act as a counter
to Qatari owned Al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera used to run stories that
put the royal family of Saudi Arabia in a bad light, throughout the 90s and this triggered the Saudi decision to start a new media company.
Al Arabiya was established in Dubai’s Media City in 2002. Al Arabiya’s online website can be accessed in 4 languages – Arabic, English, Urdu which is spoken in India and Pakistan and Farsi (Persian). Naturally the biggest consumer of Al Arabiya’s content online is Saudi Arabia – it forms 20% of the online visitors of the website.
MENA Herald is a business news web portal covering the Middle East & North Africa region. It is based in UAE. MENA Herald provides, real-time reporting on the latest corporate news and market trends across various industries in Middle East Region. They offer coverage of 16 key sectors in the GCC and Middle East region. Mena Herald reports news in both Arabic and English languages. They also aim to bring breaking news headlines through Social Media networks at the same time as their Online Web portal.
The Arabian Post
The Arabian Post is a Dubai based web publisher. They produce reports and stories in English language. The Arabian Posts aggregates content from multiple networks around the world along with original contributions and analysis by internal staff.
The Arabian News is present in Medium.com blogging platform. They publish their news stories in Medium at the same time as in their web portal. The Arabian Post’s reports are drawn from top news sources, including wire services, broadcasters, newspapers, magazines and most popular online news sites.
Dubai Chronicle is a news website owned by New Media Group. It was started in 2007. This publication has a Social Media presence – It has pages in Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram and Facebook. Dubai Chronicle tends to focus on the entertainment stories from UAE but their website has sections for finance and tech news.
D. Malayalam Newspapers in UAE
Malayalam Media Industry in UAE has a unique history. The need for mass
Malayalam Newspapers arose due to the presence of a large Malayalam speaking
Indian migrant population in the country. There are at least 4 major Malayalam
newspapers circulated in UAE.
Siraj Daily is a Malayalam language daily. It was established in 1984. The newspaper is published by Thoufeeque Publications. Though a Calicut based newspaper, it has exclusive editions for Dubai to cater to the huge expatriate population of Keralites living in the country.
Gulf Madhyamam is the UAE based subsidiary of Madhyamam Daily. It is the first Malayalam newspaper published in UAE as it was launched here in 2002. Gulf Madhyamam is published from Dubai and serves the huge number of Malayalee population who are working in UAE.
The papers claims to have a circulation of 62,000 in UAE, success of Gulf Madhyamam is what encouraged several other Malayalam and other Indian newspapers to set up shop in the Persian Gulf Region. Since Gulf News’ arrival in UAE, other Malayalam dailies like Manorama, Chandrika have started publishing from Dubai. Few years back the first Tamil Newspaper in UAE also started getting printed in Dubai.
Gulf Madhyamam has an office in the Dubai Media City which is were the majority of the media entities in Dubai are based.
E. Filipino Newspapers
There is a large Filipino expatriate population living in UAE. Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates are migrants or descendants of the Philippines living in the UAE. More than 600,000 Filipinos live in the UAE. Filipino Newspapers cater to this section of the UAE community. The two popular Filipino newspapers, Kabayan Weekly and The Filipino Times, also have some of the highest circulation for newspapers in UAE.
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 aim of Kabayan Weekly is to connect Filipinos in the UAE through their actual lives and experiences as overseas Filipino workers vis-á-vis the current events happening back home in the Philippines.
The Filipino Times
The Filipino Times is the biggest Filipino newspaper in the UAE. It has a circulation figure of 60,000 copies and an estimated readership base of 250,000 per week. The website gets around 2.5 million visitors per month. The size of the newspaper’s reach in UAE is because of the huge Filipino expatriates working in the country and also because the newspaper is distributed for free.
TFT is distributed through various distribution spots, numbering to around 2500, around the country. This includes Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and inside Philippine-bound flights, Filipino Churches, Filipino community events and etc.
The newspaper’s tagline “We are where the Filipinos are” reflects this community level distribution strategies that keep the publication close to Filipino community in UAE.
Despite being a small country, UAE is home to a diverse set of media enterprises in various languages. This is due to the fact that the country has a diverse population thanks to the huge number of expatriate resident of other countries. UAE has Malayalam, Tamil, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Filipino newspapers that cater to their respective readership in the country.
The biggest drawback faced by the industry in UAE is the censorship that is activated by the UAE government. This claws away the legitimacy of UAE’s media outlets significantly. Strict censorship was one of the reasons why The National lost some of its best editors and writers. Censorship drastically affects the international legitimacy of UAE’s main English newspapers. This limits the revenue sources and the operational freedom of the country’s media entities both big and small.
Going forward the media landscape in UAE is fraught with significant challenges. The traditional Print medium is fast losing readership and relevance and in the digital space they have to contend with international competitors especially competition from the nearby Arabic states like Qatar where the media has more journalistic freedom.
For the print and online media in UAE the challenges are thus multi-fold. They have to navigate through the tough economic situation, changes in industry format and as work within the limitations imposed by the Censorship regime.