Thoughtful piece from Emirati columnist Mishaal Al Gergawi about the problem with transparency in the Gulf States — including the UAE. Here are his suggestions for improvement:

– Set the record straight: There’s a lot of negative speculation. A silent government is largely viewed as a guilty government and the worst quotes are the so and so did not respond to requests to comment on this story.

– Communicate the way forward: With respect to some countries, there is a sense that every day is taken as it comes and there is a lot of finger crossing. This only goes to increase concern about the way forward.

– Spokesperson: Appoint an official speaker who has the information (data, background information, etc) and is empowered to communicate it with the media. This allows for the governments to lead the conversation as opposed to continuously play catch up.

– Liberate the local media: There is so much that is miscommunicated by foreign media just because the local media can’t discuss it at the level of granularity that the former can. This allows for the loss of much of the situation’s nuances.

Yes. As I mentioned last week, the UAE press is particularly hamstrung. The UAE often complains about foreign press coverage, but the local press can’t really cover issues properly. Until the local press is liberated, we’ll be forced to rely upon foreigners for our news.