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Press Freedom in the UAE

Date of publication: 2 May, 2018

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The UAE's constitution originally guaranteed freedom of expression "within the limits of the law" - but since its inception, those laws have become increasingly restrictive.

Journalists and activists routinely go missing for showing even the slightest criticism of the regime and it is a criminal offence to publish anything that could damage the economy.

Even foreign journalists are not safe from the regime's hellish prison system and its infamous Nepalese torturers.

The UAE ranked 128 out of 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index this year, dropping nine places from last year. 

Citizen-journalists and bloggers are usually targeted for criticising the regime and are accused of defamation, insulting the state, or posting false information with the aim of damaging the country’s reputation, Reporters Without Borders said. They risk long jail terms and are liable to be mistreated in prison. 

Since June, the UAE has also been part of a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt. The countries then issued a list of demands, which included closing media outlets such as Al Jazeera and London-based The New Arab.

Click on Special Contents to read more on Press Freedom in the UAE:

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