10 November, 2009

Laid off for implicating Emirates Airlines

Dubai Media Observer links to a Reporters Without Borders article titled "Laid off for implicating Emirates Airlines"

"The exclusive account of Courtney C. Radsch, a US journalist who recently lost her job at the Al Arabiya news website (www.alarabiya.net) in the United Arab Emirates for posting information about safety violations by the national air carrier, Emirates Airlines.

“ On Sunday Oct. 4 one of my reporters asked me if we could write about a report on safety concerns at Emirates Airlines following a report about pilot fatigue. Since the report was from a respected Australian paper based on a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) for a report from the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) and I assessed that the story was newsworthy and in the public interest. We sought and received a response from the airline which we featured in the lede and devoted an entire section of the story to. The story was on the site for about 4 hours before I received a call from Dawood al-Shirian, the manager of AlArabiya.net, telling me to remove the story from the site."

Read the DMO post: Nose-dive/Crash landing/[insert aviation disaster pun here] for more.


Sheikh Shamal said...

Ho-ho - "the head of Emirates Airlines is also the head of the aviation authority and an al-Maktoum, a member of the ruling family".

Well, say no more, then. Another cracking victory for press freedom in the cultural backwater known as the UAE!

Dubai City Information said...

shamal nailed it just right. hail to free journalism. how can we ever move forward? it is the 21st century + for heavens' sake

Anonymous said...

It's so depressing i don't even feel like posting a snarky comment.

Sheikh Shamal: Love your profile description. I'm so sorry.

Seabee said...

A lot of our problem here is self censorship so it would be interesting to know whether that's what happened here or whether someone higher up told them to remove the story.

Sultan said...

In these tough times, anyone who tries to undermine something as important as Emirates deserves to be punished.

First report on all the safety violations by US/UK/Indian airlines and then talk about Emirates,

Seabee said...

Sultan, the story was covered in international media and there's no reason whatsoever to not publish it here.

The fact that other airlines have been accused of violations is a separate issue - Emirates is a UAE airline and so the story has particular relevance here.

To condone censorship simply because times are tough is unsupportable.

Mazhar M said...

i have to disagree if her dismissal had anything to do with Emirates Airlines. Gulf News, Khaleej, The National, Arabian Business, Business24-7 which are also UAE based news corporates had same articles published in exact tone manner. Their journalists havent lost the job?

This is yet another jealousy led "lets shame Dubai for the chance we have now" factor. I don't see it has anything to do with the airline. Perhaps the politics within the Al Arabiya channel?

Anonymous said...

She was the first one to report it in the UAE. The rest followed her.

It really depends on who called her boss... Maybe that person did not enjoy that kind of clout in other places. Or just decided to vent his anger on her.

Censorship does not mean the top guy gets involved in every little story that breaks. It simply means that a lot mid-level guys can read something and call to complain and use some waasta.

Maybe it was a face saving gesture by her boss, who may have told someone that he would have the story removed pronto... and when she did not he had to make a point.

It's not about Dubai alone. In some other countries an advertiser can wield a lot of clout.

You don't have to doubt every good person and blame the victim... that is called the stockholm syndrome.

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