Thursday, 5 March 2009

RAK hit and run

From today's Gulf News (extracts below):

An American journalist working for an English daily from Abu Dhabi has run over an Egyptian security guard at the entrance of a university here because the guard denied him access to the campus.

The security guard did not allow entry to the journalist identified as "J." because he did not have an "entrance permission" which is a must for visitors as per the university regulations.

The Egyptian security guard is demanding Dh50,000 in compensation, and the university is demanding to continue with the case against the journalist and his sponsoring organisation.

The sources said that it has been reported that this particular journalist had repeatedly entered the university surreptitiously. He had entered with the university students and without holding any proper permission and this harmed the university's image. The sources said that the journalist had violated the privacy of the university.


Anonymous said...

The journalist should be jailed and then deported and The National, ooops, I mean the newspaper involved should be fined. That'll teach you to run over our security guards.

Anonymous said...

I thought running people over was the UAE's national sport?

At least Arabs running over infidels... but these interlopers deserve it.

Once again, UAE's staggering hypocrisy rears its ugly nasty head.

Anonymous said...

I want to know what was going down at RAK uni that was so important the hack felt it necessary to mow down some badge toting gate monkey?

Americans eh, what are they like?

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

why was the list of employees from The National removed from this blog? it was a fine public service to let us see who this overexcitable "J" is so we might all run for cover when we see him on the job.
Does "that paper" bother to do background checks on the employees it has dragged in?

meeja tramp said...

to anon at 03.41 : long arm of the law/Abu Dhabi/TRA etc.

Anonymous said...

I heard that more than 50 people at the National, who have been put up in hotels for almost a year on the promise of company accommodation, now have one month to find their own because there was some sort of fuck up in HR.

Huge numbers of them are thinking of just shipping home...

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

From Laura Koot, managing editor to 60 or so employees who have been in a hotel for a year or more:

To all of you waiting for an apartment:

We have received some disturbing and unwelcome news.
The buildings that you are scheduled to move into are not going to be ours in the foreseeable future, if at all.
Although the owners did sign contracts with the company and were paid deposits, they have reneged on the commitment.
At this point both buildings are mired in legal limbo.
In light of this, the company can no longer subsidize indefinite hotel stays.
We have agreed with the finance department to have our current hotel arrangement continue until May 1.
That gives everyone two and a half months to look for an apartment.
After that, if you have not found something, ADMC'S hotel department will help you find the most affordable hotel as you assume the full cost.
Currently, the highest vacancy, and most affordable area for rentals is Dubai Marina.
The commute is about one hour, 15 minutes.
If enough people decide to go this route, we can explore the option of running a bus a few times a day between the marina and the office.
The success rate of finding places in Abu Dhabi has also risen recently, and I will continue to pass on any leads that come my way.
I have a list of all those looking to share, so if you need a roommate, please let me know.
It is custom in the UAE to pay the full year's rent up front. Obviously, that is not possible for most of you.
When you find an apartment, the housing department will work with you to prepare a contract in ADMC's name, pay the year's rent, and deduct it monthly from your salary.
We realize how frustrating this news will be and we will do everything we can to help you as you begin (or continue) your house hunting.

Anonymous said...

From the Editor

As I have made clear before, no staff may talk to outside media agencies without prior permission from me or Hassan. Nor can anyone write, broadcast or provide any service to outside agencies without express prior permission. Failing to get clearance will result in dismissal.

Martin Newland

Anonymous said...

kudos to Laura - bad position to be in, to have to break that news to the angry hordes, but she seems to have handled it as well as possible.
worrying that staff at Abu Dhabi's flagship paper still have to live in Dubai.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to them, they’ve been pretty good putting people up in a hotel for this long.
Most other publishing companies in the UAE just give you a few months in some grotty apartment and then you’re on your own.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing people have been put up for a year. My god! Staff should really not be angry - just grateful they've had it so good.

I like the fact the National will pay the year's rent as well... Can't really argue with that...

Anonymous said...

Crikey Moses!!!

One year free in a hotel.

2 months to find a place.

Company offers to sort 1 year cheque in advance.

Company offers to put on bus IF you have to move to Dubai Marina (which is where I live and it's a good place - minus the commute, of course)

Company will help you find a place...

I mean, we have subsidised accom for 3 months then you're on your own... which is actually a good deal.

And people at The Nat are saying they may go home due to this - WHAT??!! - TO WHAT??!! - let them go. sod 'em -- Blighty, Yankee, Ozzie, Canucky and Kiwi are all doing so well right now - enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Any company should honour the agreements it made when recruiting people.

If they said they'd provide apartments and now won't then yes, staff have a right to be pissed off.

Quite a few of the National's staff were successful where they originally came from and to give up that status and position to take a chance on something in a place that is somewhat of a graveyard for international journalism would need considerable carrots.

Those carrots, after being dangled, are now being put away. So, don't be surprised if something else catches National staff member's eyes. After all, apart from the money (which is ok but not amazing), there is no reason for a successful sought-after journalist to be in Dubai or the UAE.

Anonymous said...

It's clear staff have an unhealthy sense of entitlement.

It is also clear we need to begin to implement a little realism into a fiscally promiscuous environment. Let's face it, the options for alternate employment are not great.

Employees should just be thankful they have a job...

Anonymous said...

Back in the day, Emirates Today staff were given two weeks in a hotel then you were on your own. The National staff have had a pretty good deal.

Anonymous said...

sounds very similar to the way al jazeera english treated all its new staff. lured them to cataarh with gilden carrots of paid school fees and family air tickets and accom subsidies and then failed to deliver.

and as for greedy local landlords demanding a year's rent in advance, well someone ought to put a stop to that, like errr ummm
errr the employment ministry ?

Anonymous said...

1311 - I love this: "there is no reason for a successful sought-after journalist to be in Dubai or the UAE". I have read The National and it isn't all that great - if you were so successful and sought after in your home country, why did you leave in the first place? I'm guessing you are most likely a jobsworth journeyman, like most of the media in this region. Having a package like The National has offered you is unheard of. You have done really well out of it. When I arrived on these gilded shores [spit!] I had two days in a hotel and then had to sort myself out. I have been sorting myself out and all those around me for the last three years. I have a little bit of gumption, am self-starting and don't expect everything handed to me on a plate! You have got to make your own breaks. Good luck finding a job in London or New York or wherever you are from as you'll be joining the back of a very long queue.

Anonymous said...

which brings us back to the original story-- the lack of professionalism in the National's staff, as demonstrated by the journalist-- actually a "freelance" american photographer, i am told, named "J" Topping, on his Big Adventure with Foreigners, but still unnable to distinguish between a parking lot and a war zone. Perhaps the National should have familiarized itself with UAE sufficiently to lay a stable groundwork for compliance with its contractual promises, such as housing, and perhaps they should, as another writer suggested ,have vetted their staff more responsibly, to avoid the hiring of thugs.

Anonymous said...

Topping is hardly a thug. He is quite personable. Gulf News got it entirely wrong. Wait until the court rules on this before branding all at The National as unprofessional. Couldn't it be that an overzealous security guard blew things out of proportion ?

Anonymous said...

"At least Arabs running over infidels... but these interlopers deserve it."

That's disgusting racism and I'm surprised the mods would even publish it. The only person that should be run over is you.

If you don't like the way things work here, pack your bags and leave. Meanwhile, the rest of us will try to bring change in a patient and constructive way.

Anonymous said...

sounds like a low paid 'security guard' aka 'gate opener' sees an opportunity to make a cash grab...

Anonymous said...

@ 1042 - I dont work in Dubai and wild horses couldn't drag me there.

As for the National's staff - you have to ask yourself only one question - why are they paid more than you? Then you might ask why they have better terms and conditions as well. Entitlement has nothing to do with it. If you're as good as you think you are and the National's journalists are as bad as you think then you shouldn't have a problem getting a job there.

@1414 - I don't like Dubai because there's nothing to like. As for racism - it's completely entrenched in every aspect of UAE life and if you live and work there you tacitly accept that. Of course you might be working to change it. However, don't be surprised if a local tells you that racism is their way of doing things and if you don't like it go home.

Anonymous said...


I'm sure our wild horses will be delighted to hear they aren't required to drag your sorry ass here or anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

@ 1326 - I always find comments such as yours just completely laughable.

You're obviously exactly the right kind of mindless cunt who is perfect for Dubai.

I guess working for ITP on 10k a month has fed you the illusion that somehow you're important.

Anonymous said...

The atmosphere of this conversation is noxious. The post colonial tension between "gate monkeys" and "interlopers" sits on the surface like scum on a pond. The one posturing rejection of racism (anon 14:14) concludes with the tone-deaf and self-righteous declaration of Empire's essential intent; to stay where they dont belong and arent welcome in order to change it. Preoccupied with internecine journalistic bickering, and whinging about hotels and salaries, nobody has taken the rather obvious journalistic bait: Who are these new papers--(the paradoxically named "National", e.g.) hiring? How do foreign nationals become National reporters? Why are they here? Surely it cant be for the latitude given to freedom of expression and investigative reporting. Less than 2 hours on the computer and phone ( the most affordable evening pastime for us here) confirms that the journalist under accusation by the "cash grab(bing) gate monkey" does appear to have, at a minimum, a record of conviction for harassment and for physical assault in the American state of Arizona, County Maricopa, in 2007. In context, this is hardly a conclusive fact--Mr Topping is also, as noted, apparently "personable." Possibly , as suggested, the guard has motives beyond mere justice. Possibly, he too is ""personable." But it is a potentially significant fact. More to the point, it is the sort of fact that journalists and the newspapers that hire them might, when not otherwise distracted by silly sniping or more legitimate concerns regarding housing, be expected to uncover. The default assumption that a third world guard is a mendacious schemer and the American journalist a wronged innocent should prick the interest of any responsible reporter.

Anonymous said...

to anon 2345 - he is referred to as a thug in a previous comment. so probably not a default assumption?

Anonymous said...

He was acquitted for lack of evidence: