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This page is the English version of Almasirah Media Network website and it focuses on delivering all leading News and developments in Yemen, the Middle East and the world. In the eara of misinformation imposed by the main stream media in the Middle East and abroad, Almasirah Media Network strives towards promoting knowledge, principle values and justice, among all societies and cultures in the world

Systematic Targeting of Freedom of Expression, Peaceful Opposition, UAE

Report:  Media professionals and influencers in the UAE suffer from extensive electronic surveillance and systematic targeting by government authorities of freedom of expression and peaceful dissent in light of the reality of comprehensive repression in the country. Over the years, the level of freedom of media and opinion in the UAE has gradually declined significantly, as it ranked 131 out of 180 countries in the world press freedom rankings in 2020, according to Reporters Without Borders.


The UAE scored 31 points out of 150 in the freedom of opinion and expression scale in the index of political participation in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries issued by the “Gulf House for Studies and Publishing” for the year 2020. According to the Red Line organization, the Gulf Group for Monitoring Freedoms and the Press, Emirati activists find themselves vulnerable to targeting and prosecution when they express what opposes or is critical of the government’s viewpoint.

The blogger and human rights activist Ahmed Mansour is considered the most prominent victim of these policies that undermine freedom of opinion and expression in the country. Mansour was arrested in March 2017, then sentenced to 10 years in prison and a fine of one million dirhams (270,000 US dollars) on charges of “defaming the state on social media” for his defence of Islamist detainees in Emirati prisons and for raising the human rights file in the country. Mansour’s family confirms that contact with him was cut off for six months after his arrest, deprivation of health care, torture and insults, which represent a clear violation of fundamental international human rights standards.

Mansour was the authorities’ target who monitored him and tried to hack his phone through a message containing a camouflaged link titled New Secrets of Torture in Emirati Prisons. He corrected the matter with the help of an expert who assured him that the link was a malicious program developed by an Israeli company, which it sells to governments.

In March 2017, academic Nasser Ghaith was sentenced to ten years in prison for tweets criticizing the Egyptian regime’s violations of human rights and in which the UAE authorities found disturbing relations with the Egyptian state via the Internet.

In addition to the arbitrary sentences, the UAE keeps detainees in prisons for a period longer than the prescribed sentence without a retrial. Like the detainee Osama Al-Najjar, who was released in August 2019 despite the end of his sentence in 2017. The Public Prosecutor decided to extend the sentence indefinitely after the government considered his release a “threat to national security,” as is the case with many detainees who remain to this day in Emirati prisons.

Al-Najjar was accused of inciting hatred against the state via Twitter and spreading lies about his father’s torture, Hussain Al-Najjar, who is detained for his human rights activities. In an effort to silence all dissenting voices, the UAE authorities have blocked Arab and international websites, civil society organizations, and media websites, including Al Jazeera.

Arbitrary laws to control the media

“Creating sedition” and influencing “social peace” are broad and loose titles used by the UAE authorities to enact and legislate laws that suppress freedom of opinion and expression and to justify the prosecution of anyone trying to make a statement that opposes the official UAE position. Article 288 of the UAE’s Law on Combating Information Technology Crimes stipulates a prison sentence of between 3 and 15 years for anyone who publishes anything on the Internet that would endanger the security of the state and its higher interests or prejudice public order.

 

The UAE obliges all local media institutions operating in it not to criticize the person of the head of the state or the rulers of the Emirates, to respect the policies pursued by the state at the internal and external levels, and not to harm the economic system in the state.

It is also forbidden to challenge the actions of a public official or a person with a public representative capacity, and violating institutions are subject to legal prosecution and face high fines that may lead to the bankruptcy of some of them.

The wide range of topics prohibited from being discussed in the media makes it limited in scope and serves only the interests of the state and its policies, and takes it out of its natural framework as a means of transmitting reality transparently and objectively.


Source: Emirats leaks

#UAE #Report 22-02-25
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This page is the English version of Almasirah Media Network website and it focuses on delivering all leading News and developments in Yemen, the Middle East and the world. In the eara of misinformation imposed by the main stream media in the Middle East and abroad, Almasirah Media Network strives towards promoting knowledge, principle values and justice, among all societies and cultures in the world

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