Matt J. Duffy :: Thoughts on Journalism, Culture, and Global Communication

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Dr. Matt J. Duffy teaches journalism, media ethics and international communication law. His research focuses on journalism and media laws in the Middle East. Duffy's book "Media Laws of the United Arab Emirates" was published in 2014 by Wolters Kluwer. His academic work has been published in the Journal of Middle East Media, the Journal of Mass Media Ethics, and the Newspaper Research Journal. He received a Ph.D. in Public Communication from Georgia State University in the United States where he studied the use of unnamed sources in journalism. Duffy is board member of the Arab-United States Association for Communication Educators, an organization that aims to improve journalism in the Middle East. He teaches international communication law at Kennesaw State University.

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Social media changes UAE landscape

posted on February 10, 2012 at 8:13 am

The last few paragraphs of my column in Gulf News today on the latest press freedom rankings which saw the UAE decline because of Internet filtering and other factors:

One overriding message from the Arab Spring is that technology has provided a powerful tool for the free flow of information. Old approaches towards regulation and control are still effective, but Facebook, Twitter and YouTube increasingly allow for messages to circumvent restrictions.

Indeed, some of the conversations once reserved for the blocked Al Hewar website are now taking place in plain view amid the UAE’s vibrant Twitter community.

Aided by new technology, the trend towards more communication and less ability to control appears to be inevitable. But, how governments choose to respond to this new reality is still up for debate.

Perhaps next year’s press freedom rankings will help us answer the question.

This column meshes nicely with my other published pieces on press freedom and freedom of expression in the UAE. Click on the links to read “Civl courts should handle defamation” and “UAE journalists need more legal protections.”

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One comment

  • Mariam on 7 March 2012

    The idea of press freedom is interesting and may be the media in UAE will take a new destination. However, before anything the idea itself need to be well explained, and by that I mean that we have to ask ourselves why we need it and how it will serve our country, and the people.
    What I have seen until know who ever got their chance to speak they actually attacked people, for instance, the people who talked about UAE rulers in a bad way and said that they do not care about their people. What was that for, did they have anything from it, did they have their satisfaction? The problem is that we have people who want press freedom, but we do not have people that will do it in a productive way, that will affect the country and make it better.

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