Middle East

United Arab Emirates - Media

Newspaper reader in Abu Dhabi Image copyright AFP
Image caption Abu Dhabi has emerged as a media hub

The UAE is a regional and international centre for TV and media, alongside Egypt and Lebanon. Dubai Media City and twofour54, Abu Dhabi's media zone, were set up to attract key players.

Organisations including Reuters, CNN, Sony and Fox have moved in. The UAE is home to major pan-Arab broadcasters, including Saudi-owned MBC and Orbit Showtime Network. Sky News Arabia launched from Abu Dhabi in 2012.

The presence of millions of expatriates adds variety to the media scene, which caters for Arab, English-speaking and South Asian audiences.

Most domestic UAE media outlets are run by state-owned Abu Dhabi Media and Dubai Media Incorporated.


The constitution provides for freedom of speech but there is strong regulatory and political control of media content.

Publications must be licensed and follow official guidelines on reporting. Foreign publications are censored before distribution. Journalists tend to practise self-censorship.

The UAE has one of the highest internet penetration rates in the Arab world. By 2016 there were 8.5 million users (InternetLiveStats.com). Extensive, automated filtering is in place at ISP level. Targeted content includes opposition politics and religion.

More than 40% of residents use Facebook at least once a month.

Legislation bans the dissemination of online material that can threaten "public order", and provides for prison terms for those who "deride or damage" the reputation of the state and "display contempt" for religion.

The press

  • Al-Bayan - Arabic daily, Dubai government-owned
  • Gulf News - Dubai-based, English-language
  • Khaleej Times - private, Dubai-based daily, English-language
  • Emirates 24/7 - English-language online publication
  • The National - Abu Dhabi-based English-language daily
  • 7Days - English-language, free-of-charge tabloid



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