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

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympics Transform UAE Television Standards and National Values

The UAE sports channels (Dubai Sports and Abu Dhabi TV) are giving a good coverage of the Beijing Olympics, especially by featuring minor sports (hand ball, table tennis, shooting etc) and focusing on the feats of many small nations (for more on how the UAE coverage differs from the US or Australia see this article on ETE).

In a country that suffers from extreme media censorship—“We apologize the site you are attempting to visit has been blocked due to its content being inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the United Arab Emirates”—it is revolutionary to see the UAE screening Olympic sports revealing women in tightly fitting bathing suits and scantily clad women playing beach volley ball.

In a country whose laws require modest dress (the Decency Law of Sharjah demands greater strictness) and where the “religious, cultural, political and moral values” promote extensive covering of women, it is evident that the UAE is undergoing a revolution of its values. This transformation is being fuelled by the UAE’s eagerness to stand tall on the international stage, including its current bid to host a forthcoming Olympics.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Beach volley ball in Beijing.

Related Articles:
Saudi Arabia and the 2008 Olympics, American Bedu, 9 August 2008.
Islamic Dress and the Olympics, Crossroads Arabia, 11 August 2008.
Veiled Athletes Challenge stereotypes in Beijing, New York Times, 11 August 2008.
The Bikini Olympics, Caledoniyya, 13 August 2008.