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.”