Just stumbled across this interview with Dr. Sulaiman Al Hattlan, an academic and journalist, with astute observations about the media in the United Arab Emirates. Read this part of the interview:

In the Arab world, however, journalism started as a party voice or as an official voice to governments. Hence we have various issues. First, we can’t differentiate properly between media and advertising, between propaganda and reporting, between public relations and journalism, between opinion and news, or between news and analysis.

Second, there is a lack of independence in many Arabic media corporations, which were originally attached to governments or influential personalities in their societies, and that continue to serve political or commercial interests. Moreover, there is an important cultural matter, namely the absence of critical spirit and self- criticism in our culture.

Finally, with the arrival of New Media and citizen journalism, that allows for all to express and to have their input in building the general public opinion, we are witnessing such a mixture of criticism and blunt accusations, that the reader has difficulty in discerning between the actual responsible and constructive criticism and the one based on rumours and lies. So, in a climate like this, the challenges within the media sector are increasing. It is my sincere wish that we should somehow try to accelerate our steps towards building a civil society based on the concepts of polite conversation, the respect of others’ opinions and the importance of accurate information.

Yes. What an eloquent summation of the problems with the media system in this region.