Monday, 6 April 2009

Down the tubes

Is your publication going down the tubes? Budget cuts, non-payments, layoffs, CEO just transferred all the remaining dirhams to his Swiss account, etc?

Here's a thread to spill the beans.


Anonymous said...

Off Subject -

About time; has anyone here ever tried covering this story?

Anonymous said...

And a follow up:

J said...

Time for all the Dubai apologists to get up on their hind legs and start whining about unfair reporting, factual inaccuracies, etc!

Anonymous said...

Excellent stuff - people have been colluding with Dubai for too long - it's a fucking disgusting place.

Anonymous said...

why is it disgusting. because there are too many fat cat locals or because there are too many indian business people exploting the situation, or because there are too many expats living off the cream ?

Anonymous said...

Can we get back to the subject of this thread? Is there anyone left to comment on dire Dubai?

indiancurry said...

Pathetic is not the word. It makes your blood boil to see the squalor and the inhumane conditions meted to these labourers who have to toil under the merciless sun to build a luxury building so the money launderers can have their orgies in these harems. Speaking for myself, I'm glad I moved to a better place than the Middle East.

Anonymous said...

The original follow up link has been moved... here's the new URL:

Anonymous said...

These stories were as true 5 years ago as they are now.

What they incresingly showcase is the bankruptcy of media companies that continue to rehash them. BBC is not the first and won't be the last.

It is not very brave to have hidden camera footage if you are not going to confront any official with it. Even from London.

And its a bit silly to show a choken basin and compare it to seven star luxury. Nowhere in the world do construction workers live in seven star luxury.

The point is not that Dubai is great or anything. That can be debated endlessly. But that these stories only benefit the journalist who produces them. And a discerning editor would have binned it.

Anonymous said...

@1149 - of course it benefits the journalist you complete cretin cos the bloke was doing his effing job and doing it well.

Unlike the spineless herd of nobodies who work for ITP et al.

Hats off to panorama - and fuck off 1149.

Anonymous said...

A classic.

Anonymous said...

what i dont understand is why everyone on this site is not praising dubai as a paradise under the benevolent rule of its exalted leader shaikh mohammed. surely its a far better place to live than saudi arabia or kuwait or Qatar.
its enlightened liberalism and business sense of savoir faire makes it one of the more interesting places in a pretty grotty region and the best city within a radius of about 800 miles, and probably more.

i understand that the maktoum family policy of "bigging it up" at every opportunity has become pretty tiresome and the place has been over developed to a psychotic degree on the sweat of slave labour and is now just a nouveau riche playground, gangster hideout and gigantic money laundering brothel cum golf club - but hey it could be a lot worse.

perhaps sheikh mohammed should sack his current PR team if the gloss and spin is no longer producing the right sort of coverage. But lets be honest, dubai ain't all that bad.

not that i would want to buy an apartment in another high rise building shrouded in smog overlooking a polluted beach and a golf course sprinkled with sewer water - even if i could afford it.

Anonymous said...

It's especially offensive when you come from one of the many cultures who don't or have never exploited cheap labour to build their cities. Places like Britain, Australia, South Africa, Russia, United States ...

If those places were guilty of the same thing they would tear down the products of their exploitation and make reparations to the victims and offer official apolgies for their misdeeds. Becuase they are morally so much better than everyone else.

J said...

11:49 - Yes, of course, this BBC journo who exposes ongoing bad practise in a place that has been squealing for the world's attention for years with ludicrous willy-waving - is laughably, pathetically misguided and wrong.

To create an intelligent, non-sensational narrative, source as broad a range of participants as possible and present what I must understand must be uncomfortable viewing for anyone still blithely 'living the dream'... Yes, what a loser.

And sure, his editor should have barbecued his balls for presenting an honest and frank report into what is a global news story.

Let me guess. You work for - The National?

Anonymous said...

Say what you want about Dubai but anyone who has ever been here and/or lived here knows it's nothing like the fantasy the Independent article would have you believe. That's just mad.

Not sure why they keep referring to Sheikh Maktoum - it didn't have much to do with him.

Anonymous said...

Hey J - just because it agrees with your point of view doesn't mean it's "non-sensational" (you mean "sensationalist") because this article absolutely is.

Anonymous said...

Actually, amid all the sensationalist dross, easy target pieces and frankly laughable stuff being printed in The Guardian (Kane, Greer et al) I think the Indy piece was pretty spot on.

The interviews were good, the stereotypes hilariously familiar and he actually bothered to get off the Big Bus to snout around places even I, as a resident for many years, haven't been to.

Be honest, how many of the posters here on this blog (yep, myself included) would have the balls to traipse around Sonapur or the gay fleshpots in search of a balanced snapshot of Dubai?

He's right on the button though that most of us train ourselves 'not to see'.

Hmm, rewrite another press release from Jiwin, and that's me done for the day. Wonder if the maid's ironed me chinos? Barasti again tonight...

Anonymous said...

@07 April, 2009 12:44

Bang on, buddy

Anonymous said...

lol. I (11.49) never said Dubai is great. Or the labourers are not in a sorry state. All I said was rehashing the same story that every foreign journalist does is not great or even passably good journalism.
And, it never attempted to present an official side to things (which is the only side that can make a difference).
News needs to be new. And sappy stories need to make an impact for things to improve. There were many naunces that the fellow lost, which a ongoing story of this many years should have. For instance, Dubai's defence that the workers pay commissions in their own country, not in Dubai IS valid.
Where is the labour contractors' point of view? Where is the Dubai Committee or whatever? Things have moved on... Like one knows of governments that have started campaigns in their own countries to counter this...
If a 'news' story seems like it carries a five-year old dateline, the editor SHOULD have binned it.
If you think the journalist did something that you did not or cannot do that is about your standards.
One can expect better from the BBC.

Sabrina said...

Hi anyone knows what's happening in KT

check this out
Khaleej Times
Posted: 2009-04-06 by Msend


Complaint Rating:
Company information:
United Arab Emirates

We are group of Khaleej Times employees, having worked in the company for last 15 years and more. The new management under Rahul Sharma and Ovais Subhani are getting rid of the old staff without any due consideration, just giving them termination letters without any warning, claiming that it is recession period, yet they keep employing new people at very high and unjustifiable salary.

The slogan "Keeping track of change" is really changing the entire hardworking manpower of the organisation. The paper is run very unprofessionally, without any ethics of journalism being followed, people are being victimised, the old staff are demoted from senior position to nothing, and on demotion some of them are told that they are no longer productive to the organisation, a good example is suchitra steven samuel, of weekend magazine, who recently won an award for journalism, she was shown the door 2 weeks ago, reasons that she is not a professional journalist, rumours have it that more employees are due to be sacked in a couple of days from every section.
Those who have been reshuffled in the organisation are: Mehre Alam, former Senior Chief Sub Editor, now junior sub editor, Patrick Michael former Weekend Editor, now Chief Reporter, Meraj Rizvi former UAE Editor, now Reporter, Neville Parker former Managing Editor (dismissed before due retirement),
Mark Townsend former Business Editor (sacked) others either demoted or sacked are senior staff from Circulation, Marketing, Supplements, Drivers, Time office, HR department, Advertisement etc the list is endless. Last week, more staff, engaged during the previous management were given their termination letters for no apparent reasons. More people to be terminated is going on by HR Manager Servine Ghandour who also sits with the duo to prepare the list, so that the old staff can be wiped out from the organisation.

Now for us, the long time employees who are still working dedicately with the organisation want the UAE government through the Labour Ministry to put an end to these uncalled terminations, we also appeal to the Board members, chairman of Khaleej Times, the Indian Embassy, Pakistan Embassy, Phillipines Embassy, Sudanese Embassy and all other embassies whose nationality work in Khaleej Times, to intervene and investigate our complains. We also call on the relevant authorities to suspend Mr. Rahul Sharma and Mr. Subhani and their associates, to pave way for further investigations.

Some unsuccessful female job seekers recently claimed that the duo are also womanizers, they demand sex in exchange of employment, if the candidate refuses, she is told that she has been unsuccessful at the interviews, all these complains must be investigated immediately, by both the board of Khaleej Times and the Government, before it is too late and freeze all termination until investigations are finalised.

Why should old employees who have been performing so well in the organisation for the last 2 decades and more, be sacrificed at the expense of these sex/monetary hungry hooligans drawing fat salaries for nothing? why not sack the newly engaged staff who are earning AED 20, 000 per month and above, yet they are unproductive and are only surviving there, either because they are friends to the duo (from the previous employment) or offer sexual favours, PLEASE UAE GOVERNMENT HELP US, WE ARE SUFFERING ON THE QUIET, PLEASE INVESTIGATE THIS ISSUE IMMEDIATELY, faithfully yours, expatriates and a group of long time employees of Khaleej Times

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Now we're talking...

Anonymous said...

It sucks if some of the Khaleej Times accusations are true, but if the sacked employees produce copy that contains as many mistakes as their "complain" letter, I understand why they were fired.

I really like the sex in exchange for work deal. The problem is when when the sex isn't good - how can anyone hire a horny bimbo who gives bad head...

Anonymous said...

Finally someone is cracking the whip at KT. Spring cleaning was much needed.

Anonymous said...

Not that I don't have sympathy for fellow hacks or anything, and I think its a shame that people are losing jobs throughout the industry, in every country... but.
KT has been indescribably shit for decades, and if I was in charge I might well think about getting rid of the people who had made it that way and bringing in some new faces. Sorry.

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

Why should old employees who have been performing so well in the organisation for the last 2 decades and more, be sacrificed at the expense of these sex/monetary hungry hooligans?

Gimme monetary hungry sex-hoolies anyday!

Anonymous said...

Agree with 00:32
Where is the grammar in this "complain"?

Anonymous said...

Who's she done? And why is she so shit at her job?

Anonymous said...

isn't that what being in marketing is about anyway?

Anonymous said...

Moderator - think you should be stepping here.

The latest comments are pure rumour and will not be substantiated.

These posts should be deleted.

Anonymous said...

The post is titled 'Down the tubes' and the moderators have accepted comments related to a specific, easily identifiable person that is based on nasty, snide gossip by anonymous posters.

Is there no depths that this site will not plummet to?

anon_mediator said...

slightly edited comment :

'Sex for employment scheme'
been around for ages. its how a certain (person) with massive boobs has been employed at ITP for so long yet clearly useless at her job. she's done nearly half the staff.

Anonymous said...

You've edited it and still included the comment: "she's done nearly half the staff".

Where is the observation there?

Will someone ever back that claim up to any degree?

Of course they will not.

Just take the comment down or dit properly.

Anonymous said...

1149 - dude every time you open your stupid mouth you get it wrong.

Panorama isn't a news prog you fucking idiot. It's a current affairs doc slot that attempts to give a more in-depth analysis.

As for giving dubai govt and bosses a say - fuck that, they've dominated the media with their bs pr for too long - panorama just gave voice to those who dont get heard often.

and so what if the story has been told before? Not on a primetime, leading bbc current affairs prog it ain't.

if youre the best dubai has got 1149 then you lot really are fucked

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, screw the grammar shit in this complain report, it could have been written by a non-editorial staff or even an office boy in Khaleej Times, (DOES IT REALLY MATTER TO US).Even the Englishmen or the Irish can hardly speak English, am told KT has a bunch of them. Bravo to whoever wrote the complain letter with all the grammar errors, the important point is to expose the rot in khaleej times, not the language, you are also most welcome to write in malayalam or urdu. PLEASE GIVE US MORE DOSSIER ON KT. BY THE WAY, ARE THE SEX MANIACS STILL SURVIVING IN KT??? Tell them to work for ITP.- Disgusted reader

disgusted candidate said...

so sweet darling!! I was unsuccessful at the Khaleej Times interview, because i refused to get F....!!! Are there any laws in the UAE to deal with sex hungry employers????

resident said...

No wonder KT sales have dropped, the Editors are busy with sex or is it copy and paste stories from previous day's edition of GN, 7days, The National, Gulf Today, hahaha hehehe KT am told do not have writers

Zainab said...

I was a victim of sexual harassment at Khaleej Times, during my interview 6 months ago, i failed because i refused to offer. I applied for a job as a Business reporter, sorry no pussy no job, F.... U guys and get lost out of UAE. – Zainab

Anonymous said...

Bizarrely the last four comments all have the same IP address. Idiot.

Anonymous said...

@ 05:10
Saying 'fuck' three times in five paras really does strengthens your argument, doesn't it?

You say Panorama is, "a current affairs doc slot that attempts to give a more in-depth analysis."
In depth? Without being able to track the agent who got any of these workers here??

Current affairs? When the story could have been dated five years ago? Without any latest developments in the workers' countries of origin?

All the story is worth is human interest... years ago.

Giving voices to same old lament is not journalism. Would you call interviewing a homeless man on the streets of NY or London or your little town, journalism? Sure his plight would be serious. And of course, his story is interesting to those who only know of these places as tourists.

I am told the journalist spent three months in the UAE. And this is all he has to show for his effort - no other side of the story? No other angles? He has not even approached the Brit company he focussed on.

This is fish bowl journalism.

This is the last I am going to say on the subject. If you cannot hold a thought, or bother to argue with logic even on an anonymous blog pl join anger management classes. Don't take it out on the poor keyboard.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Sharma and Subhani, but I would surely bang a reporter (or two) from KT.

Anonymous said...

He he looks like the KT CEO is having a heart to heart breakfast with staff to know them better. Is his ass on fire? he he ha ha

From: KT Ceo's Office []
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 5:52 PM
Subject: FW: Monthly breakfast with the CEO & the Editor

Dear All,

Starting this month, Rahul and I will hold a monthly breakfast meeting. The objective is to give us a chance to meet and talk to many of you whom we don’t see on a regular basis and, likewise, for you to get a chance to spend time with us and get to know each other better.

We envision this breakfast meeting as an informal, relaxed, free-flowing, lively exchange with no specific agenda. An opportunity to ask questions, raise issues, share ideas, brainstorm on the future of the paper or our industry, you name it!

Below are more details on the format of these breakfast meetings:

When: Third Thursday of every month from 9am to 10am

Where: Ground floor conference room

Who: every employee of KT is welcome, no matter is position, grade or department

Maximum number of participants (excl Rahul and I): 15

The first breakfast meeting will take place on Thursday April 16. Since seats are limited, please email Tasnim to confirm your attendance.
Looking forward to seeing you then.

Didier & Rahul

Didier Brun
Chief Executive Officer

Tel.: +971 4 3390601
Mobile: +971 56 6032391
P. O. Box 11243, Dubai
United Arab Emirates

Anonymous said...

Rumor circulating that an additional 200 staff members will be laid off from AMG today! Can anyone confirm?

That would make a total of 400 in 3 months!

Fish bowl my arse said...

10:16 - I'm not sure it takes as many "fucks" to argue with you as the previous poster, but you are a pompous twat.

The fact that the situation for labourers hasn't improved in five years (or fifteen) is the news angle. A massive boom, up to 40 percent of the economy driven by real estate, and it's still built on indentured servitude and appalling conditions.

Plus the shell game between overseas agents, contractors, and mostly government-owned construction companies fools absolutely no-one.

Look at what Panorama achieved - a promise by the Ministry of Labour to investigate, an immediate furious response from Arabtec, Jamie Oliver's brand is tarnished and his name is off the developer's website.

Now let's look at what the UAE media will achieve. A blanket denial by the Ministry of Labour will be reported without investigation, Peter Mandelson's speech to the BBG will be taken as the final rebuttal to a string of international media investigations, and people will be on this site swapping misogynistic gossip, while providing PR fluff for a dictatorship, for years to come.

Anonymous said...

Moderator - think you should be stepping here.

Zainab's post has crossed the line. Can you please reveal the idiot's ip address.

Anonymous said...

who you calling a dictator ?
In Dubai we are lucky to live under the enlightened guidance of the exalted powers that be.

it may not be perfect but for this part of the world it is about the best it gets.

just remember the mantra and get on message.

"in the race for selling sand there is no finish line"

Francis Matthew said...

Can Gulf News get any worse? Yes, yes it can:

Any other reason they posted a picture of her, other than she is an attractive blonde? They also describe her as "lively". Brilliant. Francis Matthew is quite possibly the best editor in the world.

Anonymous said...

Any other reason they posted a picture of her, other than she is an attractive blonde?

Yes, she's the subject of the story.

Anonymous said...

Can it get any worse? Yes it can...this is so badly written, its barely readable. Any English-speaking subs left in GN?

Anonymous said...

any more news from AMG ??

Anonymous said...

Did anyone watch the Panorama report? Dreadful conditions aside, it was pretty poor journalism. The reporter was here for five weeks and visited just two camps in Dubai; the second of which (Arabtec) had nothing to do with the celebrity he tried to pin it on. I'm sure everyone will agree that these kind of conditions need wholescale reporting, but not in this way. It was such an obvious celebrity hatchet job and each segment of terrible conditions required the qualification 'the workers in this camp have nothing to do with the company I am trying to pin this on... etc. etc.' He'd obviously picked the most prominent British celebrities in advance then came to Dubai with the intention of fulfilling that pre-conceieved story whether it was true or not. That said, Michael Owen's acting was worth the admission fee alone: "Hey, I think that's actually Sam Torrance down there; the ex-Ryder Cup captain"

Anonymous said...

JO's name has never been removed from the developer's website and still features prominently. This developer, which has the deal with JO, has nothing to do with Arabtec other than the fact it sold land to the current developer in 2007 - it's the landowner which employs Arabtec as its contrcator.

Panorama really was poor, but it was pretty easy to 'read' between the lines.

I'd like to see this kind of investigation done properly looking at the leglislation introduced in 2006 and the authorities often failed attempts to enforce this; which companies are trying to improve standards and which are responsible for such inhumane conditions; and the recruitment agents in the sub-continent which are the source of some of the problems.

Anonymous said...

"'Sex for employment scheme'
been around for ages. its how a certain (person) with massive boobs has been employed at ITP for so long yet clearly useless at her job. she's done nearly half the staff."

Anyone care to drop a few more hints? I'm in the other half and I'm not fussy.

Anonymous said...

the comments about the panorama prog made on here by the likes of 1240 reveal the totally cretinous standards in dubai.

panorama is a primetime bbc1 prog - to reach that stated demographic it would need to be delivered in a formulaic way.

as for good journalism? how the fuck would you know? you obviously work in some shite Dubai publishing company so why don't you stay there doing your shitty fucking job and leave the real work to people who know how to do it.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - you're a cunt.

Anonymous said...

who is this

Anonymous said...

Ah. Mr c+++ is back. and he is obviously not from the media in Dubai.

I am. and here goes.

Almost all the engineers, supervisors and senior management from these companies are Western.

In all the years that I have been here, I have seen that they turn a blind eye to the conditions, are the highest paid and have never recommended any changes from within these firms because they love their comfort and go back to their large homes where they have a nanny and a gardener.

very few of them are focused on building labour camps. Most of them talk of the latest bar in Jumeirah, a small little tailor in Satwa and a round of golf. why blame the system?

Those who were in a position of power to change things are now cribbing about Dubai only because they might have been laid off. Else they would have spent dolling up for the paparazzi from Time Out.

Change comes from within.

Anonymous said...

Way of the mark there Sunshine. And seems to me like you don't know how to do it.

Anonymous said...

I worked at ITP and never got anything from anyone with big boobs. I am feeling I did not get my full gratuity.

Fish bowl my arse said...

From the International Construction Review (11 April):

"One of Jumeirah Golf Estates’ ambassadors, the English celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has removed his name from the company’s website."

If you look at the site, he's gone - at least temporarily - from the Partners list and the Ambassadors list. (Original press release is still there though - tut, tut).

12:40 - you're either a paid flack, or a pathological liar.

Anonymous said...

Nah, he's in a few sections: Water residences mention his restaurants and kitchens; press releases; massive picture of his face on the parent's not hard to see his name on numerous pages. Don't accept everything you read.

Anonymous said...

14:06 - "Don't accept everything you read".

I imagine the people on this forum know that better than most?

Fish bowl my arse said...

Oliver was on the Ambassador list for Jumeirah Golf Estates last week - he's off now.

He's also off the Leisurecorp list of Ambassadors, as of today.

The fact that the rest of the website hasn't been updated suggests either a) he's not very serious about it or b) the people running the website aren't taking it very seriously.

Given the extent of his professional interests here through Professional Sports Group, it's unlikely Oliver's cutting ties with Dubai. However, there's definitely a PR scramble going on. Are you part of it?

Anonymous said...

No blogger any comments on this GN bullshit article, then?

I know UAE media can only say nice things about the country, but surely this goes over the top?

Anonymous said...

"Western expats full of praise for Dubai" is the Platonic ideal of GN journalism. It should be put in a museum.

Anonymous said...

To all you Business 24-7 bashers out there...

When even the Editor-in-Chief is forced to self-censor, there's really not much you can do.

HRW summary:

Human Rights Watch on Monday slammed a draft United Arab Emirates media law, saying it falls short of international free speech standards and urging the Gulf state's president to seek revisions.
But the UAE National Media Council reacted swiftly, claiming that the HRW comments and recommendations "do not represent a fair assessment of the Law."
The US-based watchdog said the draft law "inadequately addresses the failings of the current law and fails to conform to international free speech standards," in a study released in Dubai.
It urged President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan to "insist that the legislature revise the pending law to conform to the requirements of international law."
"Ideally, the president would not sign the draft law. We hope that it will not go through as it is," HRW researcher Samer Musci told reporters as the group released the study entitled: "Just the Good News, Please. New UAE Media Law Continues to Stifle Press."
The pending law, drafted to replace a 1980 act, abolishes prison sentences for journalists and also protects them from coercion to reveal their sources.
But "it includes troubling content-based restrictions on speech, draconian fines and harsh registration requirements," HRW said, adding that the restrictions "are aimed at stymieing criticism of the government."
"In ambiguous, overboard provisions, the pending law prohibits communication that misleads the public and 'harms the national economy', or 'disparages' government officials," it said.
"This insulation of public officials from criticism violates the fundamental principle in international human rights law that press freedoms should be wider, not narrower."
The National Media Council (NMC) in a statement said the draft law reduces the type of stories that deemed to violate the law from 16 to three.
It also defended the provision on criticising top officials, saying fines can be imposed on media "deemed to insult the person of the head of state, his deputy or other senior federal Government officials or their deputies."
"The Article, as drafted, specifically refers to an insult 'to the person' of the senior officials mentioned -- NOT to any comment on the way in which they may perform their duties," it said.
"Personal attacks on senior officials, relating to their personal status, beliefs or behaviour, are considered to be unacceptable, even if such personal attacks, or insults to the person, are permissible in other countries."
The NMC also rejected criticism to proposed penalties for publishing "misleading" news that could harm the economy or UAE foreign relations.
"(Penalties) can only be upheld by the courts where it is proven... that the writer of any such story was fully aware that the content of the story was 'misleading' and that the writer had the deliberate intention of misleading the public and of doing harm," it said.
HRW said that such news deemed "misleading" and "harmful" could lead to penalties as high as 500,000 dirhams (136,000 dollars), under Article 33 of the pending law.
"The restrictions in Article 33 would undermine journalistic integrity and pressure news outlets to be governmental mouthpieces of positive news," it charged.
There are 11 main daily newspapers in the UAE, six in English and five in Arabic. All appear to exercise strict self-censorship, avoiding criticism of the rulers -- an approach followed in all Gulf monarchies.
Mohammed Yousuf, head of the UAE journalists' association, in February called the proposed law a "backward step" which does not take journalists' demands into consideration.
However, Dubai is home to several free zones hosting international media organisations that are exempt from the country's media law.
The UAE ranked 69th in the press freedom index for 2008 prepared by the Paris-based watchdog Reporters Without Borders. It came third among Arab countries.

The Real Deal:

A draft media law in the United Arab Emirates which would impose hefty fines for criticising the head of state has drawn rare public calls for the president to stop the bill.
The UAE's advisory Federal National Council (FNC) approved a draft in January that sets fines of up to 5 million dirhams ($1.4 million) on the media for a series of infractions.
They include "disparaging" President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed or the rulers and deputies of any of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, as well as harming the national economy, the country's reputation or relations with foreign countries.
The bill now awaits cabinet and presidential approval in the Gulf Arab state, which does does not have a parliament.
"The draft law in its current form is obscure and violates many freedoms, gains and basic rights, and hinders free media and newspaper work in the country," a group of more than 100 civil society figures said in a petition to Sheikh Khalifa.
The UAE, the world's fifth largest oil exporter, has established itself as a trade and tourism centre. Most of its 4.5 million population are migrant labourers and professionals from Asia, Africa and Europe.
As the country developed following independence from Britain in 1972, its local Bedouin, fisher and trader population acquired few political rights.
Politics professor Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, a signatory to the petition, said the law gave too much power to the authorities to licence, regulate and close media.
"The UAE deserves a better law and better protection for writers and journalists," he told Reuters.
Journalists have also criticised the draft, the result of several years of debate, for not stating clearly that they cannot be jailed and for allowing for closure of newspapers.
"It should say that a paper cannot be closed, whatever the infraction," said Abdul-Hamid Ahmed, editor-in-chief of the English-language Gulf News daily.
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Committee to Protect Journalists both criticised the draft.
"We feel the penalties are going to intimidate journalists and continue to cause self-censorship," HRW researcher Samer Muscati told a news conference in Dubai on Monday.
International rights groups have often criticised Arab countries for fining and jailing journalists and creating an atmosphere of self-censorship.
But Najla Al-Awadhi, a member of the quasi-parliamentary FNC that approved the draft, defended the law saying the country had to protect itself from tensions that press coverage can cause.
"We are not trying to emulate the Western ideas of freedom of the press," she said. "We are a very young country in a very challenging region. We have neighbours that we get along with but also have some tough relationships, like Iran and Pakistan."

Anonymous said...

Compare and contrast these articles on the Media Law:

"UAE National Media Council welcomes all debates on draft media law"

"UAE media law 'falls short'"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The comparison between GN and TN reports on the review of the media laws is a perfect example of how the same story can be played to very different ends. The Panorama and Independent pieces were no different and both clearly took a position to bring readers and viewers to a conclusion. As usual the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Anonymous said...

Dubai is an island of liberalism in a gulf of repression.

compare its free press with iran or saudi then go to the beach, have a game of golf, relax with a beer and take your girlfriend out for a meal and a movie.

Anonymous said...

An Iranian-American journalist accused of spying in Iran went on trial this week and a verdict is expected soon, an Iranian official has said.

"The first trial meeting on Roxana Saberi was held yesterday [Monday]," judiciary spokesman Ali Jamshidi told a news conference in Tehran.

"I think the verdict will be announced soon, perhaps in the next two or three weeks," the official added.

Ms Saberi, 31, is being held in Evin prison near Tehran.

The journalist, 31, worked briefly for the BBC three years ago. She has also worked for the American public radio network NPR and the TV network Fox News.

Ms Saberi worked for the BBC for several months in 2006

She has been in custody in Tehran since late January.

Ms Saberi originally faced the less serious accusations of buying alcohol, then working as a journalist without a valid press card, but last week Iranian prosecutors accused her of spying for the US.

Anonymous said...

The Panorama story has a holier than thou tone. AND it is supposed to be "good journalism". It seems like the worst of what passes for journalism in the some countries - sensationalistic and self serving.

If you are a journalist covering the labour issues beat in Dubai, you could eke out a living just coordinating these foreign stories. Give them a number or two and take them to a labour camp.

The visiting journalist gets a "the dark side of Dubai" story, the resident journos get money and a chance to feel like they are making a difference. And the construction workers get their two minutes of sympathy.

I am hardly a Dubai-lover but would you think a story on the sorry state of affairs in London's Southall or Brick lane, (as one KT columnist pointed out) is journalism! For trainees, perhaps.

Some years ago a team of East European journalists had tracked their girls to Dubai via Moscow(working as prostitues in Bur Dubai). Get that story/documentary if you can... It had names of local officials, legal angles, back home realities and much more.

And if you can't get something this simple pl go back to The Sun for real journalism.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the previous post. Did the Panormama guy talk to the PCLAD or organisations here like Buildsafe UAE, Shoebox or Valley of Love to get a rounded perspective?

Exposes seem so charming but you need to look at what is being done so that the good work does not get sidelined.

I have seen the homeless in London. Unswept dirty streets. A crumbling healthcare system where sick people have to wait for months to get treated.

But no journalist in Dubai has the moxie to do such a film. Or one about racists in UK who target Indians and Pakistanis.. Imagine that being aired on Al Jazeera or Al Arabiya here! Or what happened to those affected post-Katrina in US?

Be true to your job guys. I am seriously tired of reading wire stories which have one mandatory para "Dubai was once a small fishing village in 1972 blah blah blah."

I have never read of any other city in the entire world getting a backgrounder in 2009 of what it did in 1972. :-)

Anonymous said...

This guy has taken the issue to a whole new level.

Anonymous said...

To 16.54 and 07.23.

Please stop throwing the ball back because you don't like the game. The poor and oppressed in Southall or Brick Lane retain their passports, have the right to vote, have the right to dissent, live in homes that the state provides, are treated when they are ill, have the right for representation in parliament, have freedom of expression and freedom to practice their own religion. They have the freedom to sleep rough should they choose to do so and the freedom to seek legal recourse against injustices. And they receive a guaranteed minimum wage or state assistance should they become unemployed.

These are called basic human rights.

The acres of coverage on the richest horse race, the tallest tower and the Dubai dream are now being countered with a couple of tv and print pieces that are balancing the sickening superlatives. And they are rattling the teacups in Jumierah.

Please be mature enough to accept that there are problems and that they are finally being addressed in the media. Or just stay in denial. Your choice... see you've actually got one!

Anonymous said...

14 April, 2009 12:20

This is the standard response people wheel out when Dubai gets criticized. However, what a lot of people fail to see is what Dubai is benchmarking itself against.

It wants to be recognized as an advanced first-world developed nation. Bullshit it is. Despite the skyscrapers and man-mde islands it is still a third-world country.

It does not come off in good comparison with the press, religious, economic or cultural freedoms of the developed world. It is still backwards in comparison.

However, compared to its peers...Iran, Saudi, Africa and Asia it is a leading light. This is what Dubai should be proud of.

I was also interested to hear that Dubai has hired a UK based PR company to improve its image in the financial press...Maybe it should put more money into improving the conditions of guest workers at the bottom of the pyramid?

Anonymous said...


There is no cure for dumbness.

Did any one suggest that there were no problems?

Did any one suggest that the workers are not in a sorry state?


All one is saying, again and again, which dumb c*&^s and f*&^S cannot get into their really thick heads is that the story could have been better reported with more evidence and more points of view.


What does it take for you to get something as simple as this?

Even those labourers in those rotten camps have better understanding of nuances than you absolute cretins!!!

I (16.54) should know, I have reported on them enough times. And cover their suicides and strikes with seven feet high local policemen shooing me off from the "camp" past dinner time.

But please go back to The Sun and The Star for balanced reports.

I hope this government does us all a favour and sponsor someone to the UK to do a return gift of these stories.

It was mistake to commment on this blog. Even random non-journalist readers on the Independent or the Star or even perhaps Panorama have more sense than this.

Anonymous said...

7.23 here. I belong to the media here and understand the problems very well.
None of us hid. we have worked here for years addressing these issues. we did not go with secret cameras. but we worked within the limits to do the best we can to create awareness with the authorities - my peers across all publications.

What I resent is that you do not seem to understand that those in the power to make recommendations of change do not.

Arabtec Construction's CEO is from UK if I am not mistaken.
Like I have written before, many of the engineers, the supervisors and the project management companies are from the UK or US.
I think you need to be mature to realise that your citizens here turn a blind eye and turn out dressed in their finery at the same race courses or golf courses.

while those in Southall have a right to vote or sleep on the roads, you still maintain a monarchy with your hard earned money.

Dont run the media down in Dubai. I could say that you need to outgrow the yellow press journalism that you love and do your research well before you write about the sleepy little fishing village that is now a name on the international map.

I am not Emirati but I think one must be intelligent enough to understand that all new cities have problems which are addressed in their due time. It is a learning process.
Most white engineers and project managers and supervisors here stay in villas. They do not go to the labour camps or turn a blind eye. It is bodies like Buildsafe UAE who are doing some great work. That Panorama piece would be great if it had got in BSU's viewpoint.
so do get down from your ivory tower

Anonymous said...

Nice to see the self-appointed Dubai PR machine wheeled out once again.

Well, I guess you have to justify why you live in the shithole.

My view is that the Panorama addressed the balance somewhat.

We've had so much unadulterated BS about how amazing and wonderful Dubai is over the years that the labourers getting their say - without some other voice coming in and apologising for their treatment - was very refreshing.

As for the journos on here - well I detect jealousy more than anything. It must be hard seeing somebody coming over for a few weeks and putting together a headline grabbing doc. After all living in the little Dubai bubble most journos there somehow think what they are doing is "important".

No, sorry. It isn't. It will take an outsider coming in for you to realise that.

You're just part of the Dubai PR machine - expendable just like the Indian labourers. All of you know what happens to journalists who don't toe the Dubai-line - they get shafted by management and staff.

So, I sincerely hope most of you end up with nothing. Sounds harsh but you've lived off the sweat of people who have nothing. You've played your part in some very nasty exploitation.

Finally the argument that it happened before so it's kind of ok for it to happen now. What utter and complete immoral garbage. Just because someone exploited someone in the past it makes it ok now?

You bunch of utter moral cripples.

Anonymous said...

Hey 4.29 go and fuck yourself you self righteous cock.

"... lived off the sweat of those who have nothing."

Take your cringeworthy prose and lock yourself away in your gingerbread house and leave the real world to those who understand it.

Anonymous said...

"As for the journos on here - well
"I detect jealousy more than anything. It must be hard seeing somebody coming over for a few weeks and putting together a headline grabbing doc."

Actually, it is not hard to see how someone comes for a few weeks and puts together a headline grabbing doc. That is what is happening for the last six months.

We are not jealous. We are just amazed how you read the bits about westerners being in a position of power to do or recommend something and turning a blind eye.

We do as much as we can and I am standing up for my fellow journos across all publications.

But perhaps you are not aware that many building firms in the UK had created a black list of their employees before employing them.

so much for ethics.

We will continue to work here and address these issues in our ways. But possibly you can clean up your own house first.
and then interview your people here who work in these firms in Dubai and ask them how they let such things pass by for so many years when they rode out of construction sites here in their 4wd to their villas in Jumeirah or Mirdif. Now that would be Panorama.
contrast the life of the site engineer or even the project director with these workers.

Anonymous said...

Come on, that Star piece is hardly quality journalism. It conveniently leaves out the fact that last year's multi-car pileup took place in Abu Dhabi, not Dubai, in freak weather conditions. It describes the call to prayer as an 'intrusion', demonstrating some of the writer's personal biases. It leaves out the fact that the TWD will use drought resistant grass watered by TSE. It describes Bastakiya as a place where people live an work.

Yes, Dubai has it's fair share of problems. No, it isn't perfect. Yes, journalists here are not getting the real story out, letting foreign journalists get 'the scoop'. But we could at least try providing some balance - real balance, not just the usual "blahblah 3rd world country blahblah not as bad as where you are blahblah."

But of course, our bosses would never dream of allowing us to write such a piece unless it completely failed to level any criticisms. Don't blame us - a lot of us probably came here with the idea of making a name for ourselves and then once we'd got the loan for the car and the apartment found we were essentially stuck here. I'm sorry but I'm not prepared to go to jail in a foreign country after being sacked for telling 'the truth' when I can work off my debts now, go home and then tell 'the truth' in six months time, from a safer distance, and with the qualification that, unlike many journalists in the West criticising Dubai, I'll actually have some experience living and working there.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Dubai PR machine is that strong when it comes to worker issues... Only Newland said he had policy against people using those stories as career highlights. Arabian Business and Gulf News reports on them frequently with pics of really bad camps. Filipina and Sri Lankan maids being abused also get coverage. Check the archives. So does KT. Even Emirates Today and Evening Post used to cover these. When there are/were strikes by labourers they have been covered.

That is not the point.

The issues are:

1. The negatives stories on Dubai are just as one-sided the positives ones. Worse because places like the BBC and the Star are supposedly free and resource rich to send their journos here. They CAN do better... even more damning stories.
Construction workers coming to Dubai after paying those huge sums of money is a nexus involving people at all levels in Dubai and their home countries.. to simplify it to the level of Dubai bashing is no service to anyone, least of all those workers.

2. There is a spate of Dubai bashing. All it takes for someone to write an expert commentary on Dubai is "I was there." Being stuck in traffic, how ever frustrating it may be, cannot make you an expert in urban planning. Weird!

3. A lot of posters here seem to have limited exposure to Dubai... limited to malls, pubs, the beach and their office. One poster wrote in favour of the Indy piece "The journalist has been on the Big Bus. Even I have not done it." Maybe they don't cover the labour issues beat and don't need to. Problem is when these journalists start mopping up their bleeding hearts without assessing stories for their journalistic worth.

Anonymous said...

I'm only here for the money...and loads of it

Anonymous said...

I can understand point made by 10.49 - honest mistake made etc - but for those who know better you're nothing but a bunch of moral pygmies who don't have a leg to stand on.

And plenty of unionised journalists fight injustice in their own countries - you lot are just a huge PR machine for some particularly nasty stuff. Some realise this and laugh at it. Others try desperately to pretend it ain't so and attack any journalist from the west who gets the story published in the kind of publication that most Dubai-based journos could only dream about.

Be warned - you'll be considered toxic by anything above Toilet Roll monthly when your Dubai wet dream collapses and you rush back to UK (or where ever) and sign off, sponging off UK (or where ever) tax payers.

The word is out on Dubai. You can rail against that all you want but you've lost and you're now fucked.
You're the hired help - a nouveau riche version of a Bengali labourer who thinks, cos they work in the medja they are somehow important.

h/t to 1215 - good stuff

Anonymous said...

OK 15.09, we'll check back in with you in a year and see how accurate your dire warnings to the "moral pygmies" are. You don't even see the irony of using the name of an ethnic group as an insult while you gallop around on your high horse.

Your axe is well ground, can you shut the hell up now?

Anonymous said...

And more respect for 1304 than for those making excuses for themselves - at least he/she has courage to admit what they are in Dubai for.

Anonymous said...

Well if you cant see the irony of slagging off a Panorame doc (who is on the high horse then you utter fucking moron) while defending your disgusting lifestyle living off of slave labour - well, I don't need to make any case.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

thanks david.

Anonymous said...

Who the fuck is David? @2058

Anonymous said...

17.45 - dont say "off of". It sounds so working class. Just "off" is fine.

Anonymous said...
pls start a new post

Anonymous said...

"Well if you cant see the irony of slagging off a Panorame doc (who is on the high horse then you utter fucking moron) while defending your disgusting lifestyle living off of slave labour - well, I don't need to make any case."

As moral pygmies it's hardly ironic that we would do that, if that's what we were doing. In fact it would be completely consistent and the exact opposite of irony.

As an "utter fucking moron" (touche Mr Wilde!) I expect my moral superiors to understand simple concepts like irony, otherwise how will I know how stupid I really am?

Anonymous said...

why a new post? construction firms selling data is hardly something for a media blog

Anonymous said...

I find it pretty incredible that some people can say here, with what i presume is a straight face, that conditions in brick lane, and in the UK construction industry, is even remotely as bad as they are here in the Gulf.

Of course, Dubai isnt the only bad egg, but is singled out because they have been breathlessly trumpeting themselves to the world over the past half decade.

There are unsavoury practices in the construction industry across the world, but in the Gulf it is virtual slavery. Even attempting to justify it by pointing at problems elsewhere is laughable, and despicable.

Have you ever asked a construction worker, or security guard, servant, maid or any menial worker, what they were SUPPOSED to be paid, according to the contract they signed in Pakistan, India or the Philippines?

They pay a huge sum to get here (usually tens of thousands of dirhams, more than a flight across the world) for the chance to earn a certain amount, but on arrival are paid a fraction of this, stripped of their passports and put to work in abhorrent conditions.

Im not a fan of excessive outrage, but some of the posters on this site, and elsewhere on Dubai blogs, should take a long, hard look in the mirror. I dont subscribe to the idea that everyone in Dubai is morally culpable by association, but DEFENDING it? I hope you lose your jobs, get thrown in the clink and rot.

That said, I think journalists here and internationally have actually covered it as best they can. This isnt news, it is just given additional bite and poignancy given what is going on in Dubai right now. Why shouldnt they rehash it now, even though it is old news? Only constant reiteration of it in international media will get the UAE, and hopefully other Gulf countries, to act.

Workers here will probably never enjoy the rights and conditions they do in the west, but the system of indentured servitude should have been abolished a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

@1343 much better put than one of outraged effing and blinding rants.

Shoulder to shoulder on that.

People who defend what goes on in Dubai or justify by some comparison to something done somewhere else should just f....

Sorry... almost started again.

Anonymous said...

So what do people think about Arabtec's recent charm offensive - as printed in gratuitous detail in Arabian Business?

Has the Panorama documentary helped?

has Arabtec seen the error of it's ways?

Or is this just corporate windowdressing bullshit?

Anonymous said...

Arabtec was clearly given a talking to by the Dubai Government and told to get things fixed. Of course the Dubai haters on this blog will either ignore it or dismiss it as propaganda so they can keep alive their "evil Arab" fantasies and continue to claim they left the place to take a moral stand, Or they could just swear at us.

Anonymous said...


Please tell us you are actually not dumb. No one can be this dumb.

Some of these journos and their heroes are like a teenager after his first kiss. They think no one ever did it before.

No one comparing anyone's misery in one country with another. Duh.

One is comparing news, newsworthiness and making sure you cover all aspects of a topic, esp if you are a media house in the free world...

A shame about Dubai media is that people who turn up yesterday with no knowledge of what went by or context think they can have opinions.

YOU might think Dubai's PR machine was working very well... but the world (at least the world that reads some papers and follows news) knows about the labour problem. And it has been reported as shoddily as the panorama piece many times in the past.

You think Dubai's dark side is being reported on now? Do yourself a favour and type "Dubai's dark side" in google and see what turns up.

Its NEW to you. That is not news.

This was in 2006:

You can still cry and feel bad about the workers. I have actually asked how much money they are promised and how much they get. A lot of them do get what is promised. Little as that is.

If you actually want to do something... make friends with some of them. Many Dubai housewives take food to them on festivals, you can join one of those groups. Many of those workers, pathan drivers etc pool in money when one of them needs it. It would take some effort (more than it takes to watch a self-righteous video) but it can be done. Volunteer on the help councils set up in various consulates... Spend a day in the month doing this.

This is what people in Dubai can do. At least get an understanding of the issue.

That might help -- you and a few of those workers.

Panorama and twenty like that. Nah.

Anonymous said...

THOUGHT THIS WAS WORTH REPRODUCING IN FULL....from the comments section of

"I recently figured that if British journalists such as Johann Hari (Tuesday, 7 April) who come to Dubai don’t send back something sensationalist it won’t get printed and they won’t get paid. After all, sleaze sells.

I called a British journalist friend of mine and said: “I’m going to write an article about London, the same way your compatriots write about Dubai.” By the time I was back at home I had come to my senses, it’s not fair to London, a city so dear to my heart, or Londoners to be judged by the actions of a few. It’s easy to generalise about a country when figures are manipulated to sensationalise and sell papers.

Say for example that I had written an article that states that, in wealthy first world Britain there are 380,000 homeless people, many of them mentally ill, starving and abandoned in sub-zero temperatures to live on the streets.

Say then that I wrote an article that states that Britain, the so called “jail capital of Western Europe” sentenced in 2006 alone a staggering additional 12,000 women to prison and that up to seven babies a month are born in jail where they spend their crucial first months.

I could have written an article that stated Britain, victor in the Second World War, had given refuge to 400 Nazi war criminals, with all but one of them getting away with it. Or one stating that the number of Indians who died while serving the British Empire, to build your Tube and grow your tea, is so large it is simply unquantifiable by any historian.

Or say I write an article about the 2.5 million-strong Indian volunteer army who served Britain during the Second World War, where 87,000 of them died for their occupiers’ freedom and yet until recently those who survived continued to be discriminated against in pay and pension.

I could have written an article that stated that, in civilised Britain, one in every 23 teenage girls had an abortion and in 2006 more than 17,000 of the 194,000 abortions carried out in England and Wales involved girls below the age of 18.

I could have written an article stating that Britain, the human rights champion, not wanting to get its hands dirty, had resorted to secretly outsourcing torture to Third World states under the guise of rendition by allowing up to 170 so called CIA torture flights to use its bases. Or that Britain’s MI5 unlawfully shared with the CIA secret material to interrogate suspects and “facilitate interviews” including cases where the suspects were later proven to be innocent.

I could have written an article that stated that the Britain of family values is the only country in the EU that recruits child soldiers as young as 16 into its Army and ships them off battlegrounds in Iraq and Afghanistan, putting it in the same league as African dictatorships and Burma.

I could have written an article that states that Britain either recently did or has yet to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict or the UN’s International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families .

I could have highlighted the fact that liberal Britain is responsible for the physical and racial abuse of hundreds of failed asylum-seekers at the hands of private security guards during their forced removal from the country .

I could have written about the countless cases of slave-like working conditions of immigrant labours such as the 23 Chinese workers who lost their lives in 2004 as they harvested cockles in the dangerous rising tides in Morecambe Bay.

I could have written about how mortality rates from liver diseases due to alcohol abuse have declined in Europe in recent decades but in Britain the rate trebled in the same period reflecting deep societal failures.

I could have written about how in “Big Brother” Britain maltreatment of minors is so serious that one in 10, or an estimated one million children a year, suffer physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.

Or that according to Oxfam 13.2 million people in the UK live in poverty – a staggering 20 per cent of the population in the sixth richest nation in the world.

I could have written all that, but out of respect for Britain, I decided not to. Because when you stitch together a collection of unconnected facts taken out of context, you end up with a distorted and inaccurate picture: something that Britain’s Dubai-bashers would do well to learn."

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the old Arabic trick of completely ignoring the facts and tossing back a curveball on a totally different subject.

It's been employed by everyone from Holocaust deniers to the Palestinian problem. And now this.

Yep, it's all a Western conspiracy among colonialists and orientalists isn't it?

You have no problems. You are not responsible. A higher being governs your actions. Opposing views and dissention do not compute.

Revisionism, critical analysis, morality and intellectual reasoning are coming your way, just as it did in the wake of the Inquisition.

You bought the malls, the satellite tv, the maids and the slavery. How you now deal with morality, ethics, human rights and fairness in the 21st century is gonna be one helluva ride.

The crashing of brains is gonna be more fun than those on the SZR. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

@1205 as the swearing ranter who is loved so much by his fellow posters let me say this -

I wouldn't sit and deny or try to gloss over or compare or excuse or etc etc what you have referred to about the UK. And, in fact, UK journalists, documentary makers etc etc have a very very long history of exposing such stuff.

So your point is completely lost on me.

Is it "London/UK does bad stuff so we shouldn't say Dubai does bad stuff"?

What utter moral relativist crap.

As for @1159 - take the workers food???? Why not just pay them properly? Clearly Dubai can afford to do that - after all it spends US$billions on creating the biggest shithole on the planet.

But I do get the feeling you'd prefer that all those poor little brown chaps need patronising and patting on the head. Here's your dinner and fuck your dignity.

Anonymous said...

@20.49 - you see it's just that starting with the phrase "Ah yes, the old Arabic trick ..." you sound just like a colonialist or an Orientalist. Those crafty Arabs with their wily tricks will rob you blind in the souks if you don't watch them. Damn rascals, the lot of them!

Anonymous said...

"after all it spends US$billions on creating the biggest shithole on the planet"

You think Dubai is the biggest shithole on the planet! You sure don't get around much!

Anonymous said...

@1415 - of all the places/countries/cities I have experienced or lived in (thats about 80 countries visited, 15 lived in and about 400 major cities visited) Dubai is by far the biggest shitpit i have been to. How it's got away with its bs for so long is a fucking miracle.

I am completely sincere when I say I hope the whole place disappears into the desert and its fucking morally retarded ex-pat defenders end up on the streets.

Anonymous said...

If you have ever, ever interacted with any of these workers you'd know that they crave a sense of home more than anything else. Even if they paid AED1500 pm, which some are.

They live with 8-9 other men, interact with supervisors and other men and are taken from one place to the other in groups, with others like them.

That is why housewives taking them food on festivals is more than about food.

You cannot debate about journalism, you bring it down to human rights. Then, you would rather sit and abuse Dubai than think about how YOU can make a difference. The government should do everything, while you, without any knowledge whatsoever, apart from the crap you watch on Panorama, should sit in judgement.

Sure, that makes you a better person and a validator of human rights. Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

There are 400 major cities? And you've been to all of them? And lived in 15 countries and visited 80? (That's five major cities for every country!)

Wow, you must be God.

Anonymous said...

DIT's Dabagh publishing, is closing down taking along with it Forbes/PC mag (Arabic et English editions) plus other lesser known titles. The closure is not directly related to the joys of the downturn but rather to its owner ministerial requirements in Saudi.

Anonymous said...

@1738 Some countries have more than 5 cities you know - you obviously don't get out much.

@1705 I am no "do-gooder" - I leave that to middle-aged housewives et al.
The fact remains if they were paid properly they wouldn't need handouts. Dubai's owner can clearly afford to pay them properly but instead prefer to set up ridiculous self-aggrandizing projects where buildings clustered into words can be seen from space (who the fuck do they think is up there reading them? Aliens?).

So your calls for handing out meals instead of a call for these workers to have rights to organise unions; to campaign for better treatment and to be paid a proper wage say it all.

We shouldn't be "helping" these workers beyond giving them these rights. They can then make their own demands to fit their own needs - not some benevolence handed down from on high.

Anonymous said...

You might have been to 80 countries and 400 cities, just not on this planet.

Anonymous said...

@0620 - this planet or any other Dubai is still a first class shit hole ;-)

Anonymous said...

heard that amg is going to sack 300 more employees soon!

Anonymous said...

Two points:

1. To 18 April, 2009 12:05

Sultan Al Qassemi the author of this piece is a nice bloke. He's quite a witty writer and makes some good points, which are very valid, so I give him a thumbs-up on that. However, he is and always has been completely myopic to what happens in the UAE and does not take criticism too well. he just goes on the defensive when you talk about any Dubai-based problems. He's very blinkered and like many Emiratis today forgets all the OTT cocksuckingly positive articles written about the Dubai "miracle" over the last few years every weekend in broadsheets all across the West and when a bit of crticism come his way he wants to take his toys home and stop playing with the other kids. No news is bad news in Dubai it seems! But all the way down from Sheikh Mo there is this thought that the agenda should be controlled, but in the real world, not fantasy Dubai, the game isn't played like that. I mean - who actually believes, apart from Sheikh Mo that the recession is over in Dubai. Five months ago they were denying the recession in Dubai. Bullshit merchants of the highest order...

2. Administrators. This thread has just degenerated into a discussion about Panorama etc. Please can you start up a new thread talking about magazine/newspaper/radio/TV closures. Opportunities for media types in Dubai and just rename this thread something like the "State of the Union Address: Dubai-style"

anon_mediator said...

@ 10.26 We started a thread to talk about media redundancies (this one). No point starting another.

Anonymous said...

Hi mediator. Yes we did start a thread to talk about media redundancies - but how much of this thread stays on topic? No wonder the press is so atrocious in this country!

Anonymous said...

@04:34 "Some countries have more than 5 cities you know - you obviously don't get out much."

Well, I sure don't get out as much as you! Some countries have a lot less than five too. And you did say major cities. Either way, you're full of it. It's a pity your world travels and interactions with so many cultures hasn't enabled you to express any view without abuse and profanity.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:59 What are you? The topic police? Talk about whatever you want to talk about.

Anonymous said...

OK then @ 14:51

Did anyone see the Man Utd v Everton game earlier this week. Was that a cast iron penalty and did you see Alex Ferguson throw a fit? Surely an old fella like him shouldn't be doing stuff like that at his age!

There you go. That's "discussing anything" and completely off topic.

What's the point of coming to a blog and having to trawl through 1,765 entries of gibberish, ITP-ers slagging off Motivate and ENG employees and general off topic crap, to get one nugget of useful info?

I have no problems with talking about anything, but come on where's the relevance with most of this? Just start a new topic wher it would be relevant. All the threads just degenerate into sewerage eventually and it's a real shame...

Is DMO is just an meaningless excuse to vent frustration and a reflection of Dubai mediland - lots of pointless posturing, bitching and name-calling, with no subtance or practical use? What is the use of DMO then?

Then again you could say the same about Dubai's media...

Anonymous said...

@1300 In the near legendary words of Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski -

"What the fuck you talking about?"

Anonymous said...

@19.21 - that's fine by me. If anyone wants to respond you've got yourself a conversation.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, great game wasn't it? The Big Man at the top railing against the injustices brought on by the industrious men in blue uniforms. The Big Man boasting about being the biggest and best, having the greatest team and a room full of trophies that he could show off to the world.

And the industrious men in blue just carried on quietly working... of course on a considerably lower salary than The Big Man's team.

And then something strange happens. The quiet industrious men in blue suddenly get a result. They get a win.

And what does the Big Man do? He throws his toys out of the pram, cries foul and protests to anyone, especially the press, that he is the victim of injustice and that everyone is jealous of his success and status. It's a conspiracy!

His team, he protests, have never resorted to cheating, dirty tricks, manipulation and ducking and diving. They're far too noble for that.

The humble men in blue collect the ball, smile quietly to themselves and prepare for another day's hard graft.

It's a funny old game innit?

Anonymous said...

Link to another story by an international news organisation on exploitation and abuse of low income workers. Shameful.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard the unconfirmed reports that City7 and ENG have closed?

Anonymous said...

@ 09:56 Love that analogy. Brillian! Want a job...well would offer you one if I wasn't having to sack all my staff!

Anonymous said...


All bollocks.

City 7 - staff told they were fired in an email, then were told they weren't. HR screw up.

ENG - not closing. All staff paid, advertising up as well apparently.

Anonymous said...

The National is quoting Emirates Business in their stories. Very unsual!

Anonymous said...

ENG NOT paid all staff.

Anonymous said...

The National also quoted XPRESS in a story last week about RERA clamping down on property developers who are defaulting... "according to an article in Xpress, which first reported the story" it gushed. ( Surely a little weekly didn't beat the hundreds of highly-paid journalists there to a story...!?!

Anonymous said...

13.42. I work at ENG and everyone in my office has been paid. I am not owed a penny. This whole paying late thing is out of date. Some of my colleagues were released but I have to say that we've been paid on time ever since. I understand it's the same in the editorial office, if that's who you are particularly referring to.
These stories are now dated and becoming boring.
I have heard that a couple of agencies are in trouble (which I found surprising) and a certain television channel is down the pan.

Anonymous said...

ENG have warned staff if they go to the ministry of labour they will get nothing.

Anonymous said...

why does media week not run stories on how their staff have not been paid for two months and that the Publisher is being sued in the UK....that would make a good headline instead of the lies they print.....also many of their suppliers that have not been paid

Anonymous said...

No ENG have not paid all their staff...maybe Rehan and Neil have been paid up to date???? or many of their suppliers

Anonymous said...

Media Week's special on Radio was absolutely hillarious...apparently ad spend is worth 100s of millions of dollars on just the ARN stations, and that Radio's one and two earn less revenue than Coast FM.

Anonymous said...

Millions of dollors with ARN?HA HA HA its all BS.

Anonymous said...

Mediaquest seems to have killed Arab Marketing title, I can not confirm this, could anyone who knows confirm that?

Anonymous said...

Pls read the second poster's comments - third para.

Since most of us here are from the UAE media, pick up the phone and call them.

Anonymous said...

More layoffs at City 7?

Anonymous said...

can someone post a link to the Media Week story here? Who wrote it?

Anonymous said...

almost 3 months since last cuts at ITP....whats going to be happening in May ?

Adam said...

@ 27 April, 2009 23:40
What "lies"?

@ 28 April, 2009 15:29
I've no idea where you got this from:

"apparently ad spend is worth 100s of millions of dollars on just the ARN stations"

There was no mention of any such figures in Media Week.

@ 30 April, 2009 20:46
What story do you want a link to?

Anonymous said...

Re: Looking for a link....

I just wanted to read the story about radio in Dubai referred to here from Media Week.

Anonymous said...

Not another ITP thread....yawn!
Takes all of three seconds ...

No cuts to any of the upper mannagement, just the worker ants (who are on a third of some of those wages)

Summer arrrives, management wonder why nothing is being achieved...then realise unless they get their hands dirty themselves, the skeleton crew left behind cant cope...

Heard it before?

Ben said...

Hi... It's a bit of a clumsy site but you can see the Media Week radio report here:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ben, for the link. A nicely done piece, if a bit light on specifics (ie, figures). But that's par for the course in Dubai journalism. Media Week looks like it's doing well.

Anonymous said...

The Media Week article is complete tosh, it's obviously sponsored by ARN, you can see the logos at the top of each page and the whole thing is meaningless without listener figures anyway.

How can anyone say say the Catboy and Geordie girl are the most popular show in the UAE, just because they haven't been fired, absolute rubbish.

Anonymous said...

Its all crap. Oh we love you arn. No we dont! Barely any mentions for all the other english language stations but oh what a surprise lots of coverage on their own stations and features on their own staff!!!!!

Sorry to bring you down a peg or two arn, but you are shit and so is your media week article. At least I have something to wipe my ass with tonight. I was low on bog paper.

Anonymous said...

'their own stations'? i thought coast had been sold? (same company previously, i think)
flimsy article otherwise, yes. but are there actually any listener figures? if not, why not. even uae mags are audited nowadays. well, some. but radio? nil points on that. shocking. catbird and geordieboy not been fired yet? they must be 'cheep'

Anonymous said...

Adam - look at the IPSOS STAT'S (although commissioned by ARN) figures for ad revenue in Q1 of 2009. In the top 10 stations in the UAE in terms of ad revenue...

Dubai 92 $3.8m
Dubai Eye $2.8m

More than $5m for the number one (which is one of ARN's Arabic stations)

However, in the table underneath...the biggest ad spender was du. Who spend $1.5m. More than twice as much as the second biggest spender.

Weather/Dubai Eye is listed as having had $244,000 in ad revenue in Q1.

It says a lot about IPSOS' credibility.

Adam said...


The figures weren't commissioned by ARN, they were given to Media Week by IPSOS. I think everyone knows that the figures aren't particularly reliable, but that's more down to the media owners than to IPSOS, who do the best they can with what they're given. That's why we stressed that the figures are "monitored" ad spend. They have to base their figures on rate cards, and it's unlikely that anyone actually pays those rates.

But the figures should be a decent indication of which channels are getting the most money and which advertisers are spending the most. That's about the best you can hope for in this market at the moment.

Anonymous said...


It's strange you say that because only yesterday I was talking to a journalist from ENG who said they haven't been paid for nearly two months.

Anonymous said...

18.57 - I think you must have misheard, or they were jesting you. Not been paid for two weeks, yes. Two months - no chance. I know for a fact that their department was paid on the same day as mine.

Anonymous said...

Petch has gone.

Anonymous said...

00:29 It was for March! and not all of it!
I think someone must be jesting you, or maybe you are the jester.

Anonymous said...

Petch was fired,soon there will only be Rehan Merchant left himself,then who to blame?

Anonymous said...

Bhahahahaha. This place never ceases to amaze. I was in a meeting with Neil and the sales team at 10am this morning. Unless he's been given his marching orders in the last six hours, then a few posters in here have a bit of egg/face interaction going on!
On a more serious/real note, one of the big three agencies closing it's DMC office? Surely not.

Anonymous said...

Oh? He's not been sacked?
That's good.
Maybe ENG will us him as a real scape-goat for a VERY nasty issue bubbling under for the company.
Can't mention it here, as the post would be removed, but it's only a matter of time until there's a nice villa going cheap on the palm.

Anonymous said...

Layoffs at Motivate yesterday I hear? Anyone know how many or more details. Worrying times indeed. New thread perhaps?

Anonymous said...

What (was) On to go b-monthly until November. Makes sense I guess.

Anonymous said...


Stop talking shite.

You (absolute) idiot.

Anonymous said...

cock at 20.08. Took (three) days for you to give that thoughtful response did it? Why would it not make sense? Very little activity over the summer months, and even less advertising revenue to back it up. (No?)

Anonymous said...

CPI is also closing mags

Anonymous said...

Ashley Rees leaving Media Week and ENG.Going back to UK.Pity,he is actually one of the few humans in management there.

Anonymous said...

Not wanting to become embroiled in the argument here (especially as it's so hilarious with its tres amusing 'brackets' gags), but I'm afraid 20.04 is right - you are talking shite 18.55.

WO isn't going bi-monthly.

Still, why let the facts get in the way of a good story?

Anonymous said...

ENG say they are only going to pay 'up to' 25% of MAY's salary on Monday July 6th. Staff fuming and, as cash runs out, many are in danger of breaking loan and repayment laws. What do you do with employers like this?
Sit ins?
Or just work until they pay us... if the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result... then we are all going stir crazy.

But, if you leave they just won't pay you ever.

And any word from the Merchant family? Not a squeak. No meeting, no reason, not even a dribbling excuse!!

Love or hate people there, if you know of a good route to secure owed funds, please suggest.

Anonymous said...

New post on ENG please. I've heard that their offices were raided by the Ministry of Labour the other day. Can anyone confirm?

Anonymous said...

Word is that ENG's mags - IQ, Insider and Media Week - will not publish over summer. Staff have walked out due to non-payment of salaries and I know at least two who have flown back to the UK. Sinking ship?

Anonymous said...

Go to the labour court .They are much better to deal with than in the past .Do not worry if you worked with a dodgy visa situation now or in the past .The court is aware of the ENG situation and is concerned .Make sure you have all paperwork including emails .Try and get together with others and get down there !

Anonymous said...

Consider going to the Dubai central Police station and attempting to secure a CID criminal dase against the company or an individual.It would be very helpful if anyone has been issued a cheque which bounced .

Anonymous said...

Also ,look at all the advertisers appearing in all the mags and on the outdoor sites.Send emails to the marketing people of each company telling them what is going on . Dangerous but maybe effective.

Anonymous said...

We've just lost an editor and a deputy editor on two of our flagships titles.
Juniors have been promoted in their places.
Not feeling particularly motivated here, but that makes me feel better.

Anonymous said...

Things not too bright over here. Our new publisher recently asked us to take three weeks holiday for which we 'shouldn't expect' to be paid.
In the next room 12 of my colleagues were being fired. Most have left within the month since that afternoon. At least two haven't been paid - Fairyservice is apparently haggling with them, saying that their notice period would have been unpaid anyway! I'd love to leave this place, but I can't risk that. So - do tribunals exist out here?

Anonymous said...

Going to advertisers and telling them what is happening is an insane idea. When the money does come - and it will, likely to be early next week - where do you think the cash will be coming from? Advertising revenue.

So crying to the advertisers will ensure:

a) you and the rest of your colleagues definitely don't get paid

b) when things do pick up, which they will, ENG will have to find new advertisers and start over and keep going through this

c) with things so sensitive and crucial at present, you'll likely bring the majaority of the titles crashing down

ENG know they've fucked up this time and final straws have been reached, even by upper management just below Rehan Merchant. There's no way they'll risk this mess again, otherwise they will be paying court fees for the next six months.

By the way, no staff walkouts, read in IQ that the mag is monthly. I've been told until early September. Standard practice.

Anonymous said...

So whats the story with Petch at ENG?

Is he still there? The little pip-squeak

Any more clarification in Merchant spending a night in Jail a couple of months back?

Anonymous said...

A lot of the above seems to be from, or at least mirror, the situation here at Motivate. Two of my colleagues discussed going to the Ministry because they haven't received their payouts. One hired a lawyer for an hour of advice. He was told not to bother because it would drag on so long and cost him more than the 40k he is owed - which he most certainly won't get if proceedings are started. Rock and a hard place.

Anonymous said...

I work in the ad industry and I can tell you if you work anywhere that relies on ad revenue for its existence don't make any plans around things picking up after summer. And if you think things will get better at the end of the year cos clients need to clear their marketing budgets you're deluded. They'd rather use the money to pay the rent. And if another media seller tells us now is the time for clients to advertise to gain market share and studies show that's the best strategy in a recession etc. we'll go bloody mad. There is no money to spend. The only thing left to do is get as much free ad space as possible and hope to still be around next year.

Anonymous said...

Rehan Merchant is not short of cash,he just chooses not to pay his staff with it.
Neil Petch is gone,and the mags will be too soon.
The labour court is the only hope of getting any money owed,its just a very slow process.
ENG and companys like them will continue to screw employees if they just walk away without their money.
Whats to lose?

Anonymous said...

If you're owed money from ENG (or any other media company for that matter) go to the Labour Court.

If your salary is late by more than 15 days, go to the Labour Court.

It's the ONLY way you might see ANY money, especially if you've been laid off and NOT got your dues.

The Labour Law is VERY clear on what you are due, and the Police will look into so called dodgy visas.

DON'T let them fuckers get away with it!

Anonymous said...

Yes, in the midst of a global economic crisis, if your wages are 16 days late, go to the Ministry and get your company's licence frozen....and then you'll be paid straight away!
And don't give a thought for your non-communist colleagues. Or those who aren't so economically thick-as-pigshit as you are. Penalise them for their intelligence, awareness and ability to read newspapers, shall we?
Not seen so many pricks in one place since the last Mirdiff Swingers convention.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 19.58, you are the guy who keeps working under the misguided view that you'll get paid in the end. You won't. It is this fear that has been the bedrock of the Gulf business model: a frightened work force living in thrall of their bosses who keep their passports and can withold wages as they like. No one rocks the boat, because the bosses can ban you. Well, slowly, things are changing. Unfortunately for the people at ENG, you will probably not get your money. Possibly a couple more weeks money will leak out of the ENG accounts, but the point where it will dry up will come sooner than later.

The only possible action is to do as suggested and go to the ministry. The threat of police action may cause ENG to dig into its coffers, or it may close the mags down for good - but it will help end this ridiculous situation.

There is something rather pathetic about still working at ENG. Like a wife being beaten by her husband, you hang on in the hope he will change - he won't. Yeah, he might buy you flowers tomorrow, but are they worth staying for?

Anonymous said...

19.58 you just don't geddit do you ?
There are such things as retribution , revenge , karma etc .You attitude is the one of the 18th century slave owner .These people are not communists they are angry and broke and have been legged over.If it is time for ENG to totally evaporate then so be it .It has no right to exist .The probs are obviously affected by the global situation but Merchant has screwd the company through incompetence .I am told that they were mucking around with payments as far back as early 2008 .People worked for up to a year with no visa . Merchant is an arrogant spoilt son of a man who actually worked for a living .He is also a vicious untalented bully and if the time has come for him to suffer then all well and good .

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 19:58 :

WTF? So you must be one of the fuckers who has not been paid in full since May and STILL works for ENG?
The reason why some people are taking a stand is :

1) We've got fucking balls
2) We are broke. Some of us are about a month away from jail due to bounced rent cheques.

In this wonderful world of piss poor management somebody forgot that it's the LAW to PAY your staff. If you can't, either dip into your MASSIVE personal funds or pay everyone off and send them home.

Call : 800665 for the Bureau for the protection of saleries - UAE

Anonymous said...

If Petch is no longer with ENG can anyone explain why his name is still on the staff list in Insider, Media Week and BHW magazines?

He is named as MD?

Anonymous said...

LOL. As an ENg-er. Exactly. I've been in meetings with him three times in the last fortnight. Who has seen Ian or Robert that often in that period?

Anonymous said...

And, by the way, we have been paid for May. And June. Shit-stirrers on DMO indeed. I suppose it makes a change from ITP employees having a dig at their own company's failings, no?

Anonymous said...

00.55 / .57 is telling lies as He / She well knows .Why keep up this pretence? Everyone knows Petch is not around and that the money has not been paid .
The entire empire will shut very soon .

Anonymous said...

@ 00:57

ENG staff have not been paid for the working month of June, and received only a fraction of their May salaries. A friend there says that they're currently looking to flog the magazines to the highest biddder... Probably be a case of the person who offers $2 rather than just $1...

Anonymous said...


To REPEAT the question:

If Petch is not with ENG any longer why is his name on the staff list in the current mags? He is named as MD in Insider, Media Week, IQ and BHW?

If he is not at ENG - what is he doing now?

Please someone clear this up!

Anonymous said...

I have a question on this whole ENG saga. If their staff have not been paid for months as reported on this site how are they still managing to produce magazines every week? Why have people just not walked out and not come back?

Anonymous said...

You are so boring. If you don't like it, why not leave?
So a company is struggling to keep its head above water? As are far bigger companies than ENG/ITP/Motivate. Rather than take the proverbial, perhaps we as a community should be more supportive of companies trying to keep our peers in employment?

desertree said...

Am just clarifying Motivate Publishing's position which is part of a well famous group of companies and it can not be compared with the companies which are socio-orphans. I wonder how accurate a person could be when he can not spell name of the Managing Partner of the company he works for, correctly. Then, there is no case of AED 40,000.00 Motivate owed to a staff. Quoting lawyers advise is a another big lie. Such cases are addressed by Labour Ministry directly. All you need is to write of complaint. The big question is why can't the person come up with his actual ID rather than staying Anonymous and crying for money. He should have enough courage.

Rick Houghton said...

ENG are just a terrible company run by an ugly useless bully who thinks he can treat staff like shit.

I am so behind anyone who makes a stand ans actually think people who are still there and put up with it all are getting to be a little pathetic now! It ain't gonna change!!

I would have taken a stand with Labour court mayself, but the lovely people at ENG kept me off a visa for a whole year, in fact I was paying for my own visa runs sometimes, because they wouldn't!

I wish eveyone well with chasing them dowm, because they bloody deserve it and the more who do, the better.

I can't wait to bump into big ears again, show him the old 'scouse slap' ha ha.

Anonymous said...

lol Rick :)

Anonymous said...

The best yet article about the UAE is in the Sunday Times [UK] magazine of 19th July . By Rod Liddle .'sleazy come' 'sleazy go'.Nothing new but well put together . Time gentlemen plesae !

Anonymous said...

"Down the tubes" :ITP is set to launch an all-new ground-breaking monthly magazine for men, licensed from a prestigious international brand. Through quality and innovation, this magazine engages modern men with the most entertaining, influential and helpful content that has ever existed. The emphasis is on producing a publication of extremely high standards which appeals to the articulate, intelligent, savvy, and smart individual who is already a high achiever in both his personal and professional life.

Anonymous said...

Apply here for the new ITP TITLE:

Anonymous said...

And what is the actual ID of Desert tree dare I ask ?