Friday, 18 March 2011

Getting paid

It's long been a dilemma for freelancers to get paid in the UAE, here's one reader seeking advice:
What do you do when a UAE publishing company owes you more than Dhs40,000 (and has done so for the best part of a year)?

I have emails, text messages and paperwork to prove it. I have been promised the money on many, many occasions - and heard every BS excuse under the sun when it hasn't arrived.

Would those in the know recommend I sue the company, complain to someone or other...or write the money off and just tell as many people as possible?

Any wisdom gratefully received.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The region revolts

As requested, a thread to discuss UAE media coverage of the riots and general unrest throughout the region.

Anyone aware of any blackouts over certain issues?

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Doctoring the news...

Here's an intriguing submission, based on this Arabian Business article about a US doctor who claims that gastric bypass surgery can cure diabetes:
There's something horribly wrong with this story. Why would you contact a California based plastic surgeon about diabetes in the Middle East? Why would you publish such a sensationalist headline? Why would the story run despite being complete bollocks? Well maybe the fact that the source quoted has the same last name as your editorial director and looks exactly like him explains it somewhat. This is blatantly nepotism at the expense of editorial integrity and a horrible crime against journalism, particularly given the importance of the subject matter.

If one reader contacts Dr Bhoyrul over fears of diabetes then his namesake and possible/probable relative should be hounded out of the profession.

UPDATE: we have been contacted by the editorial director of Arabian Business, with the following clarifications:

1. Dr Bhoyrul was interviewed during his visit to Arabian Health
2. Dr Bhoyrul is a reputable and sought-after surgeon for the procedure in question
3. Dr Bhoyrul is a relation of the editorial director of Arabian Business

As further comment, the main problem with this article is that it fails to do much justice to Dr Bhoyrul. As basic journalism, let alone medical journalism, it's piss-poor. It makes no distinction as to what kind of diabetes Dr Bhoyrul is referring to (from his comments, it seems likely that Type II diabetes or "adult onset" diabetes is the type he treats). There are also no references to any medical studies or sources, except anonymous "experts". How about the World Health Organisation, or the American Medical Assocation, or any other venerable and reputable body who likely publish statistics on obesity and diabetes?

The headline also sensationalises and misrepresents Dr Bhoyrul's own comments within the article. Dr Bhoyrul explicitly states:
"The surgery is not the answer to obesity. The solution is preparation and making lifestyle changes and keeping up with the programme for the rest of your life"

whereas the headline claims:
Gastric bypass surgery could cure diabetes 'within days', US doctor says

Poor writing and poor subbing. Not the best way to communicate such an apparently promising medical advance or represent the doctor pioneering it. Relative or nor, Arabian Business should feel ashamed at printing such poor copy.

Declining standards at The National?

A reader expresses frustration with declining journalistic standards at the The National: "Shows evidence of really poor writing skills in the first place, with poor subbing letting all these things go's something that has the potential to be a really compelling news piece, but for me anyway, it was ruined by the poor writing and grammar. Instead of focusing on the news interest the story holds, I was tut-tutting at what idiot had written this (or rather, what idiot employed him if he can't even write a concise, error-free news item!?)."
Inmate drug binge touched off prison riot, court hears
Salam al Amir

DUBAI // Two detainees at Al Rashidiya detention centre broke into its clinic and stole medicine, touching off a prison riot, prosecutors said this morning.

Prosecutors said AM, 25, and AA, 22, both Emiratis, with damaged public property, stole drugs worth Dh975 and assaulted and resisted police officers. Both had been detained on drug-consumption charges.

On May 29, 2010, AM requested to go to the bathroom, and while there, he unlocked his cuffs, records show.

He then pushed past a police officer, broke down clinic's door and started swallowing different tablets, prosecutors say. At that point, the charges said, AA got out of his cell and also rushed into the clinic.

Prosecutors said they assaulted the police officers trying to control them and prevent them from swallowing the tablets.

And during the confusion, all the detainees in that area managed to get out and fought with police officers.

Riot police were called in and controlled the detainees, said records.

Records show that both suspects were lying on the floor unconscious from swallowing too much Rivotril, Valium, Xanax and other types of anti-depressants and sleeping pills.

The next hearing was scheduled for March 20 to summon the suspects.