Press freedom reports

According to Reporters without Borders the UAE constitution guarantees press freedom, but the content and political line of newspapers, especially Arab-language ones, is closely monitored. English-language media have more leeway. A 1988 law states topics that cannot be mentioned and journalists censor themselves in matters of domestic policy, the life of the ruling families, religion or relations with neighboring countries. The foreign press is censored before it goes on sale.


The annual World Press Freedom Review by the International Press Institute states that “while freedom of speech and press freedom are constitutionally protected in the UAE, in practice, government representatives exercise strong regulatory and political control of media content. The out-dated Press Act of 1980 outlines "acceptable" subjects of reporting and includes prison sentences for insulting the head of state, senior UAE officials or leaders of the Arab or Islamic world; defaming Islam or the regime; and threatening the "national supreme interests.”