Wednesday 21 February 2024 (UAE)

Dubai Abu Dhabi UAE newspapers

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Daily newspapers in the Dubai and the UAE

The official news agency in the UAE is the Emirates News Agency or WAM from the Arabic Wakalat Anba'a Al Emarat. Established in November 1976, news transmission in Arabic started in June 1977, and in English in December 1978. WAM supplies numerous news organisations with text, photo and video feeds of news related to the UAE and the UAE government.

Most locally published newspapers are 2 dhs each, and have been for many years. Gulf News Friday edition went up to 3 dhs in about 2005. Other editions of the Gulf News up to 3 dhs from 01 January 2008. The Financial Times (UK), and The Times (UK) are printed in the UAE and cost 10 dhs.

Local English newspapers published in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and the UAE

List of most popular English daily newspapers

7 Days - publication end date 22 Dec 2016

23 Nov 2016: 7 Days will cease publication on 22 Dec 2016. Total staff of 47 have been laid off according to news reports.

List of Filipino newspapers in Dubai and UAE

Other English language newspapers published in the UAE
Arabic newspapers published in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the UAE
Other newspapers published in the UAE
International newspapers available in Dubai and UAE

There's a good range of international newspapers - most UK dailies are available and a selection from many other countries - Geant, Carrefour, Spinneys, and Waitrose supermarkets have a good choice. The website gives details of how you can get your favorite international newspaper delivered. Prices are steep though - 2 to 4 times what they cost in the country of origin.

Online news sources in the UAE

Most online news sources simply aggregate content from print publishers and newswires, sometimes automated. Usually going to Google news ( and typing in "Dubai", "Abu Dhabi" or "UAE" provides much the same result (or better if you refine your search terms).

UAE press freedom

See also Internet censorship in UAE. [Merge with this section and make new page]

Residents and visitors will note a difference in tone between local and foreign press coverage of Dubai and the UAE. UAE-based newspapers are noticeably lacking in negative reporting about the UAE, especially anything related to the UAE government, and especially anything related to the emirate in which they are published. Or bad news will be spun in a more positive light. This censorship is somewhat nebulous as it is driven internally by the media, rather than from an explicit external instruction not to publish bad news about the UAE (at least not a public proclamation to make it clear what is permitted and what is not). Of the UAE newspapers, The National and 7 Days seem to be the least timid when it comes to pushing boundaries of press freedom in the UAE, but their reporting is still a long way from the bluntness with which journalists in many other countries write their articles. Some of the self-imposed censorship is pragmatic as it is apparently unlawful to be disrespectful about authority figures in the UAE. Members of the ruling families are obviously to be respected. But whether visiting politicians, non-royal government members, non-government royal family members, business, sports, and other personalities of note are included, and what constitutes disrespect, is not so clear so most residents and media publications usually err on the side of caution.

An unfortunate consequence of this situation is that when something bad does happen in the UAE that is newsworthy internationally (for example a crash in property prices, indebted expats losing jobs and fleeing the country to avoid jail, a large potential debt default by a Dubai government owned company, a royal family member being accused of torture), the foreign press is accused of fabrication, distortion, and attacking Dubai and the UAE for no reason. A description that many would apply to journalists and newspapers anywhere in the world. But it does seem to make it even more difficult to find objectivity about the UAE. It's clear that the foreign press (especially many western publications) delight in overdoing the negativity, but it's equally clear that the local press to a large extent, ignore it. For accurate and objective information, the newswires AP, AFP, Bloomberg, and Reuters seem to be about the most balanced although Bloomberg and Reuters focus more on the business and financial world. The Financial Times is also worth reading but as it is an international newspaper (albeit printed in Dubai now), there is little in the way of local news on a day to day basis, and the focus is also on business and economics.

For most residents, any one of the local English language daily newspapers will do a reasonable job of keeping you informed of UAE related news - at least about things like rainy days and flooded roads, who won the football, upcoming events, changes in visa rules (sometimes), opening ceremonies for letters and other items of significance, traffic accidents (thankfully they've stopped the bizzare "Accident of the Week" competitions), random court cases, drug crimes, and so on. Otherwise, the UAE is relatively tolerant when it comes to news access on the internet (even Israeli newspaper website access was freed up in 2009), or buying overseas publications. There are very few, if any, news sources that are not accessible online.

02 March 2010: The Gulf News published an editorial by their Abu Dhabi Editor, Abdullah Rasheed, entitled The ceiling of press freedom in UAE is falling, in which he highlighted issues of restrictions on press freedom in the UAE - Press freedom is deteriorating and freedom of expression is in increasing danger.

Update 16 August 2010 (WAM report): Sheikh Mohammed, the Ruler of Dubai, speaking at a press conference at Zabeel Palace affirmed that the authorities in the UAE did not impose any restrictions on information or news about economic and financial issues. He was quoted as saying "My directives to these authorities are clear and beyond any questioning as we rely on candour and transparency. We strongly believe that media is the mirror of the nation. It has a noble message to disseminate and to enlighten the public, away from exaggeration, bias and distortion of facts. Media is the nation's voice. The sun cannot be blocked by a sieve,"

Update 16 March 2011 (WAM report): Sheikh Mohammed met Tom Glocer, the CEO of Thomson Reuters, for a discussion about current affairs in the region. WAM news reported: His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday stressed the importance of ensuring freedom of the Press and media persons in order to enable them to perform their mission to the fullest. Shaikh Mohammed highlighted the UAE's policy in this matter, which offers the freedom of movement, work and opinion to local and foreign journalists. He stressed that this policy stems out of the faith of the country's leadership in the role of the media in conveying the image in a clear and transparent way by holding the mirror against all the happenings across the economic social, cultural and political landscape without bias or dictation. Shaikh Mohammed expressed his views during a meeting with Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer, who was accompanied by a number of Reuter officials based in the UAE. The meeting was attended by Dubai Crown Prince Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Letters to the Editor

The letters page is often a popular source of conversation amongst expats, many of whom probably look at the letters before reading anything else in a Dubai newspaper. The Gulf News was the most talked about, at least until 7 Days came along and introduced a whole new level of eyebrow-raising letter writing - there are rumours that some of them are written in-house.

Generally Letters to the Editor appear to deal with the same subjects repeatedly. The major topics are Traffic in Dubai, Rental Costs for Accommodation, and Lost or Found Mobile Phones in Taxis. There's a minor sub-cycle something like Pet Shops in Satwa, Cricket, Driving Standards, Cricket again, Mobile Phones in Cinemas, Dubai Zoo, more about Cricket, Weight of School Bags, School Buses with no A/C, and occasionally a political rant about something to do with a googly interfering with a silly mid-off.

Gulf News Reader's Club
Last update Wednesday 23-Nov-2016
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