What’s a flock? It’s the grouping of sheep – “a flock of sheep”. And that is exactly what you are (sheep) if you actually trust UAE local news sources.
I’d like to introduce you to the UAE Media Police, a department in the UAE police force that you will find absolutely nothing about online – not surprising. The UAE’s Media Police force revolves around the concept of hybrid personnel who are both policemen and journalists, at the same time. They accompany regular policemen, which means they are the first on the scene at any incident that could be newsworthy.
It’s very much like a scene from ‘Men In Black’ when an agent calls a team to “neutralize” everyone’s memories. The Media Police comes in and clears the area, all recording devices are removed, any existing recordings collected, and then they continue to “report” the news.
THAT is pretty much your local news source, a government-controlled news reporting system that is 100% censored. Any attempt at reporting that is outside this system could possibly lead the person/company to forced-disappearance, detention, imprisonment, and torture. UAE local news, inaccurate, censored. Rumors, inaccurate, uncensored.
The UAE government has also successfully managed to censor the World Wide Web. If Sir Tim Berners-Lee knew that this is what governments would start doing to the WWW, he wouldn’t have invented it. The UAE has created a set of “Cyber laws” that applies to all sorts of information traveling on the WWW from the UAE, and these laws apply to all UAE residents and companies. This means online news is also being controlled and censored.
Therefore, every piece of news you see on a UAE media channel from Radios to TVs to the internet is totally controlled and censored by the government. This is why UAE residents do not see negative news about the UAE, and if they do, it’s because the news is so popular and had managed to get recorded that they are unable to control it. Some UAE residents have been so brainwashed with this that you can frequently see their comments of disapproval on external news sources, such as: “fake news, didn’t find it on GulfNews” or “this must be paid by Qatar for sure. UAE is #1”.
Anonymous sources – of course, Anonymous – have reported that Media companies in the UAE have started to lose profit and plan to downsize due to their inability to freely report news at all stages. Their objective has been reduced to the robotic routine of paraphrasing or re-writing government approved/released news sources. Haven’t you asked yourself why Gulf News is so obsessed with reporting the movements of every ant in India and Pakistan? Quite simply, that’s all they can freely report on.
Take this article by The National, for example. If an external company would have written an article about these new rankings, they would have highlighted how Abu Dhabi and Dubai are only the 78th and 74th positions out of 231, which makes them not even in the top third of the list, a disgraceful result if you’ll ask me. On what basis do UAE residents constantly ramble about how Abu Dhabi/Dubai “is the best in the world” when there are clearly more than 70 cities better?. The National has also forgotten to mention (or was scared to) that only Abu Dhabi and Dubai were on this list. Anyone who visits the rest of UAE’s 6 other cities would immediately understand why – but that’s a different topic for a different day.