UAE considering "gag" law on bad economic news
This doesn't sound good. Wall Street Journal:
The United Arab Emirates plans to crackdown on media freedoms amid a slew of bad headlines about the impact of the global financial crisis on the Persian Gulf state's economy and corporate scandals in Dubai.The National also has coverage:
A new 45-article law, which was introduced by the National Media Council, the government arm responsible for all media affairs, was presented to the country's Federal National Council to replace the 28-year-old Publications Law.
The law, which is still at draft stage, will introduce a system of fines, ranging from 50,000 U.A.E. dirhams ($13,600) to AED1 million, for damaging the country's reputation or its economy, according to a copy of the legislation published in local media Wednesday.
Despite protecting journalists from imprisonment and guaranteeing the anonymity of sources, the draft law drew criticism from some in the media and lawyers for being vague.Addendum. Fake Plastic Souks goes back and compares the new law to the old law (1980) and writes that you can "wonder for yourself at how much has changed."
Under the proposed law, journalists and newspapers who damage the reputation of the UAE, or publish material that harms the national economy, can be fined and banned.
However, Dr Qubaisi said that had to be read in context. While the law stated that publishing news that misled public opinion or harmed the national economy was punishable, truth could be used as a defence. It was false information that was “knowingly” printed that was deemed a violation.
And he notes he notes the new law is as archaic as the old in at least this respect: the law makes no reference to the 'e-world' and remains firmly rooted in the idea that 'the media' is content produced by licensed entities that squash ink onto dead trees and that would be held to account according to the terms of their trade license.Addendum 2. Some say the West is becoming increasing comfortable with regulation of speech:
“What we’re learning here is really the bedrock difference between the United States and the countries that are in a broad sense its legal cousins,” Mr. Steyn added. “Western governments are becoming increasingly comfortable with the regulation of opinion. The First Amendment really does distinguish the U.S., not just from Canada but from the rest of the Western world.”Addendum 3. Gambia gives a British couple a year hard labor for sedition.
Labels: UAE media