United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

No independent media, dissidents persecuted

The United Arab Emirates has become proficient in the online surveillance of journalists, who often fall victim to its 2012 cyber-crime law. Very minimal criticism of the regime by journalists or bloggers is likely to lead to charges of defamation, insulting the state or posting false information aimed at damaging the country’s reputation, with the possibility of long jail terms and mistreatment in prison. The blogger Ahmed Mansoor was arrested in March 2017 and was sentenced to ten years in prison and a fine of 1 million dirhams (250,000 euros) on several charges including posting “false information, rumours and lies” liable to damage the UAE’s reputation. The constitution guarantees free speech but, under the 1980 law on printed matter and publications, the authorities can censor local or foreign publications if they criticise domestic policies, the economy, the ruling families, religion or the UAE’s relations with its allies.

in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index



131 in 2020

Global score


42.69 in 2020

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2022
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2022
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2022
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