Middle East journalism

‘Media Law in the United Arab Emirates’ published, available on Amazon

I’m pleased to announce that my book on UAE media laws has been published. Click here to purchase the book on Amazon.

Since I’ll probably only sell about 8 copies, here are the acknowledgements:

I’d like to thank my colleagues at Zayed University’s College of Communication and Media Sciences in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for the opportunity to teach journalism and international media law in the country. Razi Rizvi, a lawyer with Simmons & Simmons, provided valuable insight into many sections of this book and also provided some of the primary sources. The Center for International Media Education (CIME) and the Department of Communication at Georgia State University have also provided support for this project. Ella Doueiry, a student at Georgia State University and assistant at CIME, helped with some of the Arabic translations. Also, my media law research supported by the Doha Centre for Media Freedom on the Gulf Cooperation Council countries also proved helpful. Finally, I’d like to thank Dr. Kyu Ho Youm, the president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and John Marshall First Amendment chair at the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon, for suggesting that I write this book.

I’m not positive, but I think this book is the first to solely address the media laws of an Arab country.

UPDATE: “Media Law in the United Arab Emirates” is also available at Amazon UK.

By | May 9th, 2014|Uncategorized|3 Comments

Arab defamation laws — major impediment to good journalism in Middle East

Libel and slander laws in the Middle East dramatically hinder good local journalism in the region. Such laws are perhaps second only to “insulting the ruler” charges in their ability squelch freedom of the press and speech. A recent incident in the United Arab Emirates demonstrates their devastating effect.

I wrote an article for Al Monitor about the case of a man who was arrested for recording a video of an Emirati man beating an Indian driver.

However, police also arrested the Indian man who recorded and uploaded the incident. The arrest came after the Emirati man’s family filed a complaint with police alleging an invasion of privacy as well as defamation. According to local reports, the man who videoed the incident actually faces more jail time than the Emirati attacker.

Defamation in the UAE — as well as the entire Arab world — differs from international legal norms in several substantive respects. First, it’s a criminal charge rather than a civil legal issue (jail time versus a financial settlement.) More importantly, truth is not a defense against defamation in the Arab world.

Such an approach has a crushing effect on anyone wishing to record a crime or journalists working to uncover corruption. The approach allows anyone behaving badly to win a defamation charge by simply showing that a true depiction of his actions damaged his reputation.

International legal norms hold that truth is an automatic defense against defamation charges. The approach ensures that the public benefits from the exposition of defamatory behavior. No one should be allowed to protect a reputation that they do not deserve.

I’ll be speaking more about this subject in Washington, DC, this weekend at the annual Association of Educators of Journalism and Mass Communication conference. Will post the slides for the presentation soon.

For more details on Arab defamation laws and other impediments to good Arab journalism, check out my Jadaliyya article, “Despite Arab Uprisings, Press Freedom Still Elusive.”

By | August 5th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments