Tuesday, April 29, 2008

a cure for censorship in the UAE

The ruling family of Abu Dhabi is financing a new newspaper, the National.

Though the government essentially owns the paper, it is not "government run". I would say that's a distinction without much difference.

So many things are interesting about this - why is the paper in English? Why are so many of the reporters lured in from American and British papers? Why is the editor's name Martin Newland? Calling it "the National" when so little of the staff are nationals of the UAE seems ironic. The target audience is, apparently, expatriates. Who, I am guessing, don't care too much about the government as long as their business is not negatively affected.

Is this a triumph for freedom of the press, as the Times seems to insinuate it is? Who knows. But if it is it is certainly in the "trickle-down" model of freedoms. First for the rich, then maybe later on for everyone else.

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