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Preview: Dubai Media Observer

Dubai Media Observer



A critical view of the media industry in the UAE



Updated: 2018-01-20T16:54:21.901+04:00

 



The National: a law unto itself

2011-11-20T15:17:31.033+04:00

Reader submission about a recent story that The National declined to cover, a story that happened "in its backyard":

"This type of self-censorship is common at the paper, which is not serving its readership well.

"In addition, the paper is said losing money at an alarming rate - its circulation has been frozen in place for several years now, and its employee-turnover rate is said to be ridiculously high. What is going on at The National?
"

++++++++++++

The International Bar Association held its annual conference in Dubai this month, but the event, which is planned five years in advance, almost never happened. Seems that several weeks before the event was to begin UAE security officials grew worried that some of the seminars/programs might be too dangerous. [see links below]

Unfortunately, readers of Abu Dhabi’s The National (whose editors have said "strives to be The New York Times of the Middle East") interested in such topics (freedom of speech, etc) would be left in the dark, because the paper declined to cover this important angle of the story.

The National did give readers this paean to women’s rights in the UAE, which includes the following paragraph.

"For me, the most exciting part has been watching young female lawyers in the UAE become so excited to attend the IBA congress and other events being held in Dubai this week. To see how thrilled these young women are to meet lawyers of leading firms from the world's capital cities is brilliant - and the fact that so many local law firms have decided to register their female staff is a sign that the practice in the UAE is progressing, despite the glass ceiling for female lawyers worldwide."

The irony in this is more than rich when one reads the following:

"However, Mr. Ellis [IBA official] did change the title of one session that security officials objected to, entitled "Women in Islam, Challenges and Opportunities," to "Women in Law, Challenges and Opportunities." Members of the women’s committee then declared the new title too "dull," he said, and opted to scrap the session.

In addition, the paper published a piece on a speech Mohamed ElBaradei made to IBA conference attendees in which included the following sentence: He said new governments would need to ensure citizens were involved in every strata of governance and law, and must be accountable and transparent.

This type of "coverage" is rampant at The National, and has increased.


Links to coverage of the IBA conference:

UAE threatened to cancel law conference in Dubai
Lawyer defends decision to hold conference in Dubai
IBA Dubai 2011: the conference that almost never was
IBA Dubai slammed for erasing women's issues from agenda



CPI finally imploding?

2011-10-08T18:39:38.884+04:00

Rumours started to circulate yesterday that long-term editorial director at CPI, Dave Reeder, is on his way out from Dominic D'Souza's zoo. If true, it's perhaps not too surprising as CPI seems to have given up on creating new and original ideas and instead copy ITP.

I've been told that Reeder has made comments on his Facebook page but I can't verify that.

Anyone who has more information on this, comment below.



Plagiarism at The National?

2011-08-31T13:42:25.142+04:00

Post submitted by a reader - "Examples of shoddy and unethical journalism at The National":

+++++++++++++++++
As many of us who worked there knew and know, The National is a sham publication, in many ways. The people running it are substandard, and the alarming lack of ethics in many sections of the paper is enough to make one laugh.

Here is a great recent example: on page 8 of the Business section - Wednesday August 31 - there are two wire stories, one headlined "Following every move" and one headlined "Hacker reveals his code of conduct." The first one is a Reuters piece, written by Jillian Kitchener; the second one was written by Rich Jaroslovsky. But readers of The National's Business section on that day would have no way of knowing who wrote the pieces, because the editors of the section (and this has been the case since the current editor took over the section) lied to those readers.

You see, both stories are bylined "The National Staff" ... and at the bottom of the pieces the email contact reads "business@thenational", followed by "with Reuters" for the first piece and "with Bloomberg News" for the latter.

What a farce. The National's Business staff added nothing at all to those pieces ... they are totally copied and pasted from those wires; all of the work was done by the original writers, and they received no credit from their brethren at the "NY Times of the Middle East."

This is unethical, shady, sloppy and simply ridiculous. But the practice is daily routine in that section.

Sad, pathetic. If anyone of any import read the paper, noticed what was in it, these practices would have stopped a long time ago. As it is, the editor of the National's Business section will be able to continue his lazy brand of journalism for as long as the paper loses money. Any editor with any integrity would never state that his section/staff wrote something that was written by someone else; indeed, in some minds, this is plagiarism.

What examples of poor ethics at The National can you share?



Media jobs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

2011-06-29T14:28:42.972+04:00

We regularly get asked about jobs in the UAE and how to get them. So to throw it out there to readers:

- how did you get your own job?

- what are the best recruitment agencies for media jobs in Dubai? and the worst?

- which job ads sites are most useful?

- is there need to visit the UAE and go doorknocking, or can jobs be picked up remotely?

- what about jobs on the sales side as well as editorial?



Read: all about it

2011-06-23T02:15:45.174+04:00

By request, the Metro's new free sheet "Read" - thoughts/opinions?



Media Misdemeanour

2011-06-04T16:25:14.357+04:00

Miss L. Lane asks if anyone has any further information or comment on this 30th May story from The National:
A British journalist was acquitted this morning of defaming an English-language newspaper in Dubai and describing its management as unethical and immoral.

MT, 49-year-old former business editor of the newspaper, denied the charges in the Dubai Court of Misdemeanors Court in September 2010. Prosecutors had said he described the newspaper's management as "driven by sex and money".

MT wrote on the newspaper's website that women who failed to get jobs at the newspaper had claimed they were rejected because they didn't have sex with the managers.

MT was also accused of abusing the Etisalat telecommunications system to hassle the newspaper's management and directors, as well as insulting by posting defamatory material using the paper's website.

At the time of the incident, an Egyptian manager at the paper lodged a complaint at Bur Dubai Police Station. He told police that an internet user had posted defamatory material on their website.

About a month later, the newspaper identified MT and reported him to police.

The verdict is subject to appeal within 15 days.



A rival for The National?

2011-04-27T05:11:00.660+04:00

According to a commenter:
It seems a new newspaper will soon be launched in Abu Dhabi. It's recruiting reporters - http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1250147
Are you surprised to hear this? Is there a market for more newspapers in the UAE? I thought the ad market was drying up.

The ad points to "the projected launch of a new local daily print publication for Abu Dhabi" by "a successful local publisher (small, well-funded, profitable, keen, entrepreneurial) with a number of print, online and video products".

More interestingly, they seem to be expecting some kind of Armageddon to break out among the seven-star hotels of the world-leading cultural capital of the UAE:
"this is not a job for those who like safety, an easy life, or the support infrastructure of a big organisation."

Screenshot in case it disappears:
(image)



Getting paid

2011-03-18T12:55:53.638+04:00

It's long been a dilemma for freelancers to get paid in the UAE, here's one reader seeking advice:
What do you do when a UAE publishing company owes you more than Dhs40,000 (and has done so for the best part of a year)?

I have emails, text messages and paperwork to prove it. I have been promised the money on many, many occasions - and heard every BS excuse under the sun when it hasn't arrived.

Would those in the know recommend I sue the company, complain to someone or other...or write the money off and just tell as many people as possible?

Any wisdom gratefully received.



The region revolts

2011-03-05T16:43:56.710+04:00

As requested, a thread to discuss UAE media coverage of the riots and general unrest throughout the region.

Anyone aware of any blackouts over certain issues?



Doctoring the news...

2011-03-04T01:29:53.509+04:00

Here's an intriguing submission, based on this Arabian Business article about a US doctor who claims that gastric bypass surgery can cure diabetes:
There's something horribly wrong with this story. Why would you contact a California based plastic surgeon about diabetes in the Middle East? Why would you publish such a sensationalist headline? Why would the story run despite being complete bollocks? Well maybe the fact that the source quoted has the same last name as your editorial director and looks exactly like him explains it somewhat. This is blatantly nepotism at the expense of editorial integrity and a horrible crime against journalism, particularly given the importance of the subject matter.

If one reader contacts Dr Bhoyrul over fears of diabetes then his namesake and possible/probable relative should be hounded out of the profession.

UPDATE: we have been contacted by the editorial director of Arabian Business, with the following clarifications:

1. Dr Bhoyrul was interviewed during his visit to Arabian Health
2. Dr Bhoyrul is a reputable and sought-after surgeon for the procedure in question
3. Dr Bhoyrul is a relation of the editorial director of Arabian Business

As further comment, the main problem with this article is that it fails to do much justice to Dr Bhoyrul. As basic journalism, let alone medical journalism, it's piss-poor. It makes no distinction as to what kind of diabetes Dr Bhoyrul is referring to (from his comments, it seems likely that Type II diabetes or "adult onset" diabetes is the type he treats). There are also no references to any medical studies or sources, except anonymous "experts". How about the World Health Organisation, or the American Medical Assocation, or any other venerable and reputable body who likely publish statistics on obesity and diabetes?

The headline also sensationalises and misrepresents Dr Bhoyrul's own comments within the article. Dr Bhoyrul explicitly states:
"The surgery is not the answer to obesity. The solution is preparation and making lifestyle changes and keeping up with the programme for the rest of your life"

whereas the headline claims:
Gastric bypass surgery could cure diabetes 'within days', US doctor says

Poor writing and poor subbing. Not the best way to communicate such an apparently promising medical advance or represent the doctor pioneering it. Relative or nor, Arabian Business should feel ashamed at printing such poor copy.



Declining standards at The National?

2011-03-03T05:57:52.050+04:00

A reader expresses frustration with declining journalistic standards at the The National: "Shows evidence of really poor writing skills in the first place, with poor subbing letting all these things go through...it's something that has the potential to be a really compelling news piece, but for me anyway, it was ruined by the poor writing and grammar. Instead of focusing on the news interest the story holds, I was tut-tutting at what idiot had written this (or rather, what idiot employed him if he can't even write a concise, error-free news item!?)."
Inmate drug binge touched off prison riot, court hears
Salam al Amir

DUBAI // Two detainees at Al Rashidiya detention centre broke into its clinic and stole medicine, touching off a prison riot, prosecutors said this morning.

Prosecutors said AM, 25, and AA, 22, both Emiratis, with damaged public property, stole drugs worth Dh975 and assaulted and resisted police officers. Both had been detained on drug-consumption charges.

On May 29, 2010, AM requested to go to the bathroom, and while there, he unlocked his cuffs, records show.

He then pushed past a police officer, broke down clinic's door and started swallowing different tablets, prosecutors say. At that point, the charges said, AA got out of his cell and also rushed into the clinic.

Prosecutors said they assaulted the police officers trying to control them and prevent them from swallowing the tablets.

And during the confusion, all the detainees in that area managed to get out and fought with police officers.

Riot police were called in and controlled the detainees, said records.

Records show that both suspects were lying on the floor unconscious from swallowing too much Rivotril, Valium, Xanax and other types of anti-depressants and sleeping pills.

The next hearing was scheduled for March 20 to summon the suspects.



Motivate moving?

2011-02-28T06:47:45.698+04:00

From a source:

(de)Motivate is apparently moving to media city in September (but I won't be holding my breath...why move, when they're living (probably) rent free in that crumby building by Al Tayer Motors in Garhoud? i'm sure the office building is also Al Tayer.

As we know, DMC is crazy expensive floor space, and given the company is too tight to even provide decent tea & coffee/lunch room facilities, hot water in washrooms etc and forces employees to pay for parking while at work, I can't see them forking out for DMC offices. But I could be wrong.


How's everyone else enjoying DMC-life these days? Any old timers remember the peaceful era of just three buildings by the lake, before banks and hotels started crowding in, rents increased tenfold, parking vanished and it all went to general shit?



Emirates 24/7 shift to Yellow Journalism

2011-02-15T17:46:22.382+04:00

Emirates 24/7 business changed to Emirates 24/7 few months ago and has many offbeat stories embracing yellow journalism. Is this shift helping Emirates 24? www.emirates247.com/offbeat



Can You Spot 6 Mistakes In This Article?

2011-01-27T11:55:14.301+04:00

We are BACK!
Recently I was browsing the famous Gulf News and stumbled across this article - Shattered lives after traffic accidents in UAE . I was appalled to find so many grammatical and structural mistakes. After reading the article those journalists surely did not give the respect and attention this article deserved. Can you spot them?



Call for contributors

2010-10-31T12:48:35.629+04:00

We're still alive, just. However several members of the team are no longer around, and sadly this place is sinking into a mire of inactivity.

So we'd love some new contributors. Just send an email - from an anonymous account - no need for your real name - to dubaimediablog@gmail.com



The spies within?

2010-08-21T13:45:46.679+04:00

Intriguing email from a reader:
Anything to report on the rumoured full-time Emirati censor who's joined/will join the National staff?

We've heard nothing, have any of you?



Twitted off

2010-08-04T13:30:49.560+04:00

The National reporter David Cosh is a bit pissed off with Arabian Business, according to his Twitter feed:
Kinda furious that Arabian Business lifted my blog post on RIM's entire statement without any attribution.

(image)

Here's David's post at The National

Here's Arabian Business's article on the same.



New daily sports paper for UAE

2010-08-01T14:04:12.434+04:00

Thanks to a commenter for the tip-off:
UAE-based publishing firm is to launch an English language sports newspaper later this year, it was reported on Sunday.

Sport 360 will be based in Abu Dhabi, will be published seven days a week, will have a minimum of 40 pages and will be in a format slightly bigger than a tabloid, according to a report in the Gulf Times daily newspaper.

"Market research showed that there is a huge gap in the market in the region for the sports enthusiast. People are looking to read about sports that the daily newspapers here do not cover well in terms of quantity and quality," Michael Chalhoub, chief executive of Gulf Sports Media, the newspaper's parent company, said in the report.


Full article here



Rock the Casbah

2010-07-31T12:17:07.438+04:00

From a commenter:
Rolling Stone Middle East being launched before the end of the year. Ex-ENG staff on board apparently. Publisher is the same as FYI - poor man's What's On. Will such a cult mag work out here?



Layoffs at Gulf News?

2010-07-25T15:24:14.859+04:00

Several commenters have mentioned possible layoffs at Gulf News.

If anyone has heard anything, feel free to discuss.



Forbes: the return

2010-07-20T00:53:08.887+04:00

So Forbes Middle East is to launch according to this story on Zawya. But whatever happened to Forbes Arabia?



WTF Publishing LLC

2010-07-19T16:21:46.202+04:00

Thread request:
Can anyone tell me how these magazine survive as they don't appear to have any advertising to speak of... and they can't all be Lebanese vanity projects can they?

UNFAIR
Brownbook
Desert Fish
IN Magazine
Virtuosity
Men's Style
Fur & Feathers



Emirates Business 24/7

2010-06-22T15:37:55.798+04:00

Apparently not looking so healthy according to several commenters:
The big bosses are now debating as to how put it down 'peacefully' without attracting much negative coverage. Last I heard was it might be given a final lease of life as an online-only website with a trimmed down staff. Most senior editors are still in dark about the future. A final solution is still being debated... But people have been sacked quietly in twos and threes. Pagination has been cut back to 40 pages from 48.



Mass staff cuts at TMF

2010-06-19T10:21:28.873+04:00

Rumours have been swirling and here's some corroboration:
As a former staff member, I can confirm that around 16 staff from TMF have been laid off in a mass staff cut at the company.

Citing the loss of the Thai airways inflight magazine Sawasdee, low ad revenues across the company and generally poor business results, the unfortunate decision has been made by TMF management.

The company is still a going concern, and will continue through this tough period.

Even as a staff member affected by the cuts, I can confirm that these events have taken place, believe this, not any erroneous reports printed elsewhere online.

We are all disappointed, but understand the business reasoning behind the decision, though all regret the sudden nature of the news.

Our sympathies to the staff that have been laid off, and we hope you find new positions soon. Anyone who's hiring, or knows any companies that are, feel free to post about it in comments.


EDIT: I just want to clarify that we're approving all the comments we can, but unless sources are provided, we can't publish some of the allegations that have been made regarding the management of TMF. Likewise allegations about their personal lives. If you can stand them up, then feel free to post with sources or email us. Comments that we consider fair opinion or "fair comment" are however going up.



Nice win for 7Days

2010-06-16T15:47:10.314+04:00

It's won two separate libel cases - link here:
In the first, Vincent Antia sought to claim dhs1 million over articles he alleged featured both true and fabricated information about his family.

The articles reported how his wife, Sally Antia, had been arrested for having an affair with a male friend. She was later sentenced to one month in prison.

Antia’s claim was dismissed by the courts, which said: "the press has a vital and effective role in directing society and thus it should have sufficient freedom of expression and should consider the public right to information".

In the second case, Ehab Ibrahim Mohamed Al Labban had claimed for dhs5 million for similar reasons. His wife, Marnie Pearce, was sentenced to six months in prison followed by deportation for having an affair, which she denied.

7DAYS published articles on the case.

Al Labban claimed the articles were defamatory, but the court dismissed the claim.

Anyone got any more juice on this?