National editor slams ‘drive-by journalism’

The editor of Abu Dhabi-based The National has hit out at a series of scornful articles about Dubai and the wider UAE which have recently appeared in the Western press.

Following scathing essays in UK broadsheets The Guardian and The Independent by Germaine Greer and Johann Hari, Martin Newland justifiably pointed out last week that “much of what has been written about Dubai and expats recently is complete rubbish and without context”. The former editor of The Daily Telegraph called it “drive-by journalism” – an apt description for the brief open-top bus tour upon which Greer based her assessment.

He said that while The National would not shy away from difficult issues, it would tackle them in a different way and within a different context.

There’s no doubt that Dubai has had a rough ride from the Western media in recent weeks but with more news organisations setting up offices in the UAE, can we expect all to take such a measured view as Newland suggests?

 Britain’s Sky News TV channel and The Daily Telegraph newspaper, and potentially the International Herald Tribune, have picked an interesting time to step up their presence in this part of the world. Is it too cynical to suggest crowds are gathering in hopes of witnessing the struggles of a country so recently emblematic of unparalleled ambition? Or are they genuinely interested in the region’s cultural and economic significance?


4 Responses to National editor slams ‘drive-by journalism’

  1. Peter Jones says:

    How silly. Hari’s article was very in-depth, he has won some of the biggest awards in British journalism.

    Better “drive-by journalism” of this standard than censored journalism from the likes of Newland, apologising for a dictatorship.

  2. Tom Roychoudhury says:

    The National has done an outstanding job so far in finding a balanced point of view and voicing that. I seriously doubt that it has been coloured by ‘censored journalism’. And, if this is a dictatorship we live in, I’d much rather breathe this air than in some violence torn banana republic where muggings, teen murders, gangland violence and uncontrolled police brutality is the order of democracy. Schadenfreude ring a bell?

  3. alexander says:

    “violence torn banana republic where muggings, teen murders, gangland violence and uncontrolled police brutality is the order of democracy”

    You talking about the UK???

  4. Serena says:

    Peter – don’t you think Hari’s article was far more than a little sensationalised?
    The closing paragraph is so ostentatiously incredible that any initial consideration to take him seriously as a journalist with an in-depth view to this city.

    Let’s be a little objective…

    And, on a side note, does anyone believe that the onslaught of anti-Dubaiism have anything to do with this?

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