United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

No independent media, dissidents persecuted

The United Arab Emirates have become masters of the online surveillance of journalists, who often fall victim to its 2012 cyber-crime law. The least criticism of the regime by citizen-journalists or bloggers is likely to lead to charges of defamation, insulting the state or posting false information with the aim of damaging the country’s reputation, with the possibility of long jail terms and mistreatment in prison. Osama al Najjar, a citizen-journalist arrested in 2014, was still in prison in early 2019 although he completed his sentence in March 2017. 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 criticize domestic policies, the economy, the ruling families, religion or the UAE’s relations with its allies.

in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index



128 in 2018

Global score


40.86 in 2018

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2020
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2020
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2020
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