The United Arab Emirates, in particular the emirate of Dubai, has transformed itself into a center for media and new information technology. In 2001, the emirate launched Dubai Media City to serve as a regional news hub for international media organizations, along with a separate Internet City. Dubai also began providing government services online. Citizens can now use the Web to pay traffic fines or get driver’s licenses, for example. Despite these innovations, authorities use filtering technology to block sexually explicit and politically sensitive Internet content.
As far as print media are concerned, the government tolerates little criticism, and self-censorship is endemic when it comes to government affairs, the ruling family, and religion. Journalists who have dared to broach these topics frankly have been detained and threatened.
Authorities also prescreen foreign publications that enter the country.