Friday, 6 March 2009

Sun, sea and sanitised reporting

Not content with gagging the UAE media ("not to stop bad news but to stop journos digging for bad news blah blah" - Abdullatif), government authorities are now trying to silence business people too.

In a letter from Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, hoteliers were requested to comment only on business at their own hotels, since DTCM would “take the initiative of providing statements about the tourism in Dubai in general”.

This was “to ensure accuracy of the information published about Dubai” and to “avoid any misleading or conflicting statements,” the letter said.

Here's me thinking that hoteliers are probably well placed to comment on tourism in Dubai since they have ACTUAL room figures, not "government statistics". And they would ACTUALLY know - based on guest feedback - about whether tourists are fed up of construction, pollution, skanky water, price increases etc.

What's next? DIFC banning licensed companies from commenting on the state of the market? TECOM banning tenants from talking about internet usage and ADSL speed?

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

FFS
freedom to create, freedom to do business, but no freedom to have an opinion. nice.

Anonymous said...

Well, Arabian Business staff have been told that their website is being monitored by two government types who are looking for any excuse to close them down.

Therefore, the journalists have been told not to write anything negative about anything government owned. It’s gone as far as even telling them not to make calls or investigate anything.

As an ex-ITP journo (now back in the UK) I suspected that this was more a fear of losing ad revenue than any real threats from the government.

But I heard that AB recently tried to look into the rumour that people with one-way tickets were being stopped at Dubai Airport, because of fears that so many people were doing a runner. Next thing, there’s a call to the bosses at ITP saying not to investigate this and they should be writing about all the many visa being issued and how well everything is instead. So expect to see that as a cover story of the increasingly-neutered AB in the near future.

Shame. AB used to be a decent publication.

Anonymous said...

Well, are there are some people currently at ITP who do ought to be in a prison [cough] anil [cough] - so let karma take it's course, I say.

Anonymous said...

World Cup 7s......about 15,000 people shy of the Dubai 7s 3 months ago. Lets see how they report this one.. "Numbers up". "Best 7s attendance ever"

Anonymous said...

utter bollocks, a move away is on the cards methinks. see you all somewhere else soon :)

Anonymous said...

i worked at Dubai Media City in the early days, when the freedom of expression promises were being dreamed up. shortly after the 9/11 attacks when everyone in dubai was worried that this liberal emirate might be a soft target for islamic extremists we were called togther by the CEO Saeed Hussein Al Muntafiq. He told us that dubai was safe, that any ripples and rumours otherwise could cause a tsunami of fear which would stop any international media companies from coming to set up in under the benevolence of TECOM etc.
furthermore he said that if any staff were found discussing the events of 9/11 they would be sacked immediately.
The whole world was discussing an international news story of breath taking scale and importance but in our media shangri la, we were forbidden.
I bravely tried to point out the inherent hypocrisy of what he was saying before leaving the majlis and flushing my job down the toilet, and deciding to work in the property market.

there is nothing dubai fears more than bad publicity.

Anonymous said...

Arabianbusiness.com website down... error message: Database Error: Unable to connect to the database: Could not connect to MySQL

Coincidental or conspicuous?

indiancurry said...

Quote Anonymous >> there is nothing dubai fears more than bad publicity.

How true! However, this has always been the norm in Dubai since the boom time started. No one noticed it because they were too busy making, spending & screwing dirhams.

This truth was always known by the poor labourer who was shafted everytime the supervisor made a mistake, but now when the big heads are rolling, how very observant has everyone become!

Dubai, thine days are numbered & it's time to flee without looking back lest you turn into a pillar of salt like Lot's wife at Sodom & Gomorrah!

Anonymous said...

To be fair to the World Cup 7s. They did make the capacity much less than the annual 7s tournament.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Daily Telegraph site is hacked and they're worried about subscriber data protection (http://tinyurl.com/bzvedr). Just imagine what fun you could have if you hacked Dubai news sites (Business 24-7, Gulf News, The National, ArabianBusiness.com) and rewrote half the stories. Who'd notice first, them or the TRA?

Anonymous said...

The DTCM has claimed that five-star occupancies in the last week of Feb were 95%. That's good news for the hotels, who were laying people off and slashing salaries in the mistaken belief that they were struggling to attract guests.

Thanks DTCM for clearing that up.

Anonymous said...

NEW SUBJECT (MAYBE):

I heard that ITP's Spectrum Graphics has been canned and all staff out of work. Plus, Media City office to close or at least most staff in that office to be moved to IMPZ (then shell reception to be put in place). Anyone ?

anon_mediator said...

sorry, had to delete an earlier comment as our friends in the capital have been very vocal about not being amused.

however, the details are on www.wikileaks.org

anon_mediator said...

slightly edited comment received:

Brilliant! Good ole wikileaks. Now I understand the [removed] reasons why [he] took the gig...

Anonymous said...

If that is not the most damaging leak I have ever seen, well... To be honest it is the most damaging.

How frankly terrifying for the HR department. Ands embarrassing for the staff involved.

I can't help but feeling sorry for the Online Ed who is paid less than her deputy.

And hats of to [thought I would do it for you] for that salary. And his deputy for that matter. Wow.

Can I have the vacant Editor at large job. I suddenly feel VERY underpaid.

On a more serious note, The National better start making money soon with that outlay. No wonder they are scrapping hotel rooms. Crikey!

Anonymous said...

Those salaries at the National are outrageous!!! are they justified?

Anonymous said...

I want a job at the National most overpaid journalists in the world!!

Anonymous said...

http://alturl.com/xmd

Anonymous said...

A new thread please...

National Staff salaries leaked. Go to link: http://file.sunshinepress.org:54445/national-salaries-2009.pdf

Anonymous said...

For the price of one Editor, ITP could give you 11 and a half assistant editors.

You couldn't make this stuff up. Absolutely awesome, er, breach. But brilliant. LMAO.

Imagine getting sacked and then having to return to the UK on £40,000 per year, taxed. Hahahahaahahahaa. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

re national salaries leak


AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA! :D

i'm not getting paid as much boohoo :(

Anonymous said...

135,000 a month for editor
90,000 a month for business editor
39,000 for news editor
30,000 for deputy news editor
20,000 + for reporters
Simply staggering, let's hope they turn a profit soon then..

anon_hack said...

New thread on the leak

Now that Maktoob.com has written about it.

Anonymous said...

None of the links are working now!!!

Anonymous said...

this works from outside UAE, not sure if it works there still

http://88.80.13.160/leak/national-salaries-2009.pdf

Anonymous said...

1018 - Looks like they have gagged the UAE! How do they do that - none of the links work!!!

indiancurry said...

None of the lnks work anywhere in the Middle East as well. I've had people trying from Qaar without success. As for me since I am out of the Gulf, I could download the whole file :P

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one concerned at the appointment by the government of official spokespeople? Comments from anyone other than them will be considered 'invalid'. That sounds an awful lot like anyone reporting anything than the government's pie in the sky figures (95% hotel occupanices in Feb anyone?) will be liable to prosecution under the new press law.

Anonymous said...

no, you're right, it's very worrying. But that just isn't going to work for the newswires, or work long-term.

Anonymous said...

sorry but would like to point out that an extremely reputable newswire got their basic total to 100 wrong for equity stakes two weeks ago.
And the editor missed it too.
I have evidence.
It was corrected only two hours later.
the prescon that was held on a Sat - hint hint.
It is not the first time.