UAE ranks 119 in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index
The 2017 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 report also pointed to the UAE's cybercrime law according to which dozens of bloggers and online activists are jailed.
The UAE regularly participate in the 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. They risk long jail terms and are liable to be mistreated in prison, according to the report.
The constitution guarantees free speech but 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 under the 1980 law on printed matter and publications.
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.