Freedom House: UAE is Not Free
Although the United Arab Emirates (UAE) serves as a regional hub for international media and hosts satellite television networks that broadcast to the Arab world, the domestic media environment is tightly controlled. Nearly all media outlets serving Emirati audiences are either owned or heavily influenced by the authorities, and individuals who use internet-based platforms to publicize dissenting views or sensitive information increasingly face arbitrary detention or criminal prosecution.
Even in Middle Eastern countries without armed conflicts, concerns about terrorist attacks or military operations abroad motivated crackdowns on critical reporting and commentary as well as self-censorship on the part of journalists and social-media users.
In United Arab Emirates, the authorities restricted critical or independent coverage of the war in Yemen, in part by controlling access to the border area. Observers also noted a tendency among media outlets and online commentators to avoid criticism of the Saudi-led military campaign.