Beirut, July 31, 2017–Authorities in Dubai should immediately reverse their one-month ban on the print and online editions of the weekly magazine Arabian Business, and should cease censoring the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
The Dubai media office on July 26 said Arabian Business’ website had been blocked and “the distribution of its print edition halted for one month” following its publication, on July 19, of an article on dozens of real-estate projects in Dubai that it said were in liquidation, according to news reports. Two days later, Arabian Business removed the article from its website and posted an apology, saying that the piece was outdated, but not before some media outlets repeated its claims.
“Blanket censorship of a publication should not be an option,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington, D.C. “Banning Arabian Business from publishing for a month because of an error is disproportionate and we urge authorities to rescind this order.”
Sara Abdulkareem, of the Dubai Government Media Office, sent CPJ a July 26 statement from the Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA), which regulates office parks created for companies in a particular industry, such as the media, accusing Arabian Business of publishing false news based on inaccurate information and of violating the DCCA’s rules. The DCCA did not respond to CPJ’s emailed request for clarification.
An editor at Arabian Business declined to comment.