Freedom of the Press - United Arab Emirates (2003)

Status: Not Free
Legal Environment: 24
Political Influences: 27
Economic Pressures: 23
Total Score: 74

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 74
Religious Groups: Muslim (96 percent) [Shi'a (16 percent)], other
Ethnic Groups: Emirian (19 percent), other Arab and Iranian (23 percent), South Asian (50 percent), European and East Asian (8 percent)
Capital: Abu Dhabi

The constitution provides for freedom of the press. However, there is strong regulatory and political control over the media, as well as an unwritten yet generally recognized ban on criticism of the government. Self-censorship is widespread on the topics of government policy, national security, and religion. The broadcast media are almost entirely state-owned and offer only official viewpoints. Print media outlets are mostly privately owned but are heavily dependent on the state for funding. There were some reports of harassment and intimidation of journalists during the year. In 2002, a poet who wrote verses that called neighboring Saudi Arabia's Islamic judges corrupt and labeled the Saudi regime "tyrants" was jailed and the editor who published the poem was fired. Internet access is widespread, although the authorities censor pornographic and radical Islamic sites. Satellite television also offers unfettered access to international news sources.

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