ICFUAE condemn violations of freedom of expression on World Press Freedom Day
On World Press Freedom Day, the ICFUAE condemns the repression of freedom of expression in the UAE by the authorities. This includes the arbitrary detention of journalists, academics, and human rights defenders, censorship of the press, and the monitoring and surveillance of online activity.
The 2018 World Press Freedom Index's ranking put the United Arab of Emirates (UAE) among the countries with the worst levels of press freedom out of the 180 evaluated. The UAE has dropped from rank 119 to 128.
The United Arab Emirates is a master of online surveillance of journalists who often fall victim to its 2012 cyber-crime law. Citizen-journalists and bloggers are usually targeted for criticizing the regime, and are accused of defamation, insulting the state, or posting false information with the aim of damaging the country’s reputation, the report said.
They risk long jail terms and are liable to be mistreated in prison. The constitution guarantees free speech, but under the 1980 law on printed matter and publications the authorities can censor local or foreign publications if they criticize domestic policies, the economy, the ruling families, religion, or the UAE’s relations with its allies, according to the report.
Published annually by RSF since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index is an important advocacy tool based on the principle of emulation between states. Because it is now so well known, its influence over the media, governments and international organizations is growing.
The ICFUAE strongly condemns these human rights violations which include the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and demands the release of all prisoners of conscience detained merely for the peaceful exercise of their rights.