United Arab Emirates | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The constitution provides for freedom of the press. However, there is strong regulatory and political control over the media, as well as an unwritten yet generally recognized ban on criticism of the government. Self-censorship is widespread on the topics of government policy, national security, and religion. The broadcast media are almost entirely state-owned and offer only official viewpoints. Print media outlets are mostly privately owned but are heavily dependent on the state for funding. There were some reports of harassment and intimidation of journalists during the year. In 2002, a poet who wrote verses that called neighboring Saudi Arabia's Islamic judges corrupt and labeled the Saudi regime "tyrants" was jailed and the editor who published the poem was fired. Internet access is widespread, although the authorities censor pornographic and radical Islamic sites. Satellite television also offers unfettered access to international news sources.