View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Sunday, November 18, 2007

CNN: International Media Increases Exposure on UAE

‘Be the First to Know’
CNN is upping its coverage on the United Arab Emirates in response to the growing international appetite for things Emirati. TV Week reports:

“CNN Worldwide is beefing up its newsgathering capacity with at least four additional correspondents and a regional hub in the United Arab Emirates.”

“This is all about owning more content,” Tony Maddox, executive VP and managing director of CNN International, said in an announcement Wednesday.

The commitment is described as CNN's largest expansion of international newsgathering resources in 27 years.

In many ways the media development is a tribute to the growing confidence of the UAE and its rising place on the world stage.

Cuts Both Ways
The UAE is heartened when H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum shares his vision to a huge audience on ABC’s 60 Minutes program, when there is extensive coverage of the visit of US First Lady Laura Bush to the Emirates and when the Festival of Thinkers becomes an international showcase of the UAE ‘can do’ attitude.

But the international attention during all of these events also focused the spotlight on the protest of 4,000 construction workers and issues to do with fair pay, work hours and adequate living conditions.

Similarly, when the New York Times published a story on the gang rape of a 15 year old boy, massive international attention was directed towards the UAE with concerns about the rights of homosexuals and questions about the punishment of victims of abuse.

World news agencies are currently transmitting the concern of the Human Rights Watch and its report this week that Sri Lankan Domestic Workers are facing abuse in the UAE and throughout the Middle East

The strategic role of the international media has been evident in the influencing of local decision makers to do a U turn, from the initial decision to deport 4,000 construction workers and permanently ban them from the country, to more recent talk of the need for compassion towards workers and demands that companies establish a minimum wage.

In a very real sense the ‘unskilled Asian construction workers’ are doing an important job in the Emirates. Their contribution is much more than erecting the tallest buildings in the world. These workers, through their protests, have raised to new heights the issue of human rights and their greatest and lasting monument will be to have contributed to the construction and refurbishment of just labor laws in the UAE.

The growth of the international media in the UAE will be important if it highlights both the exploits of the Emirates as well as the urgent work still to be done.

Source: The report on the expansion of CNN in the UAE and other countries is at:

Michele Greppi, ‘CNN Beefs UP International Coverage’, TV Week, 14 November 2007.

Dr Geoff Pound

Check out the Growth of Media in Fujairah
A media statement announced recently that “twenty-four new satellite TV channels will go on air from the Creative City of the Fujairah Media Free Zone over the next three months, raising the total number of operating channels form the city to 37.”

More on this report with comments can be found at: