The description of journalists in the AGCC states as "prostitutes of the government", as stated in a journal published from Dubai Media City, is seen as "a blatant interference in our national affairs", according to a top editor in the UAE.

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Published: Mon 27 Jun 2005, 12:26 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:20 PM

This might lead to a situation in which "we will not be able to prevent these magazines or confront the same under the banner of the freedom of the press or the freedom of the word", said the Editor in Chief of Gulf News, Abdul Hamid Ahmed, in an article published in Al Itihad Arabic newspaper.

The description of journalists as harlots was quoted to a top Editor from one of the AGCC states, in the recent issue of Time Out Dubai magazine.

The Gulf News Editor said that this (kind of writings) will one day be "used against our national interests". "Then, we will not have the right to say something against (such writings) in future when the laws of globalisation line up in favour of the foreigners working in our country, and not in our interest ", he said.

"I have, however, no objection to what might be said by any journalist, but publishing (such comments) is something different, especially in a society having intrinsic values, customs and special interests".

"Publishing of (objectionable material) will be in conflict with these values and interests", he said. The Gulf News Editor said, "The disheartening thing is not just publishing (as such), but publishing (such things) inside the country as per permits we offer to foreign companies, and with facilities we extend in order that what is said about us outside returns and are circulated inside the country".

"Thus, the invasion this time will be from within, and it will hit our interests from within", he warned. He also mentioned about another news magazine from the Dubai Media Free Zone that carried a poster of a nude woman in "an excessive way" which is "not in conformity with our rules and regulations relating to publishing".

"The body, which issued the licence (for the magazine's publication) protested politely to such penetration and overstepping the borders of our culture and customs.

The polite protest was received with a strong reply from the Editor of the publication (a woman), who said that publishing such posters will continue, because the policy of the magazine is based on such posters",

"Yes, the same pictures, which we spot in Western tabloids and newspapers. ...We ask the question, are we really living in the age of openness to such a limit, in which we read abusive articles and watch more abusive photos carried in magazines and newspapers that are published in our country?", he asked.

"We re-shoot the question in another way: Can we, as national newspapers, do the same thing in order to stand as rival to these publications in the battlefield of the competition to win the readers...Ahramon ala Balabilihi Al Doho ...Halalon ala Altiri min koli jinsi (Are the shady trees forbidden to the nightingales, and permissible to different kinds of birds?), the Gulf News Editor asked.

"We support the freedom of opinion and freedom of press without limits. Only the limits of national responsibility do we shoulder". "If others are allowed to overstep this responsibility on our homeland, then there is a big defect, clearly seen between the national national newspapers and the commercial ones that enter the country through the free zones".

"If we learn today that foreigners constitute more than 80 per cent of the population, the foreign public opinion which these publications are creating today will serve as a pressure tool that will act in their favour tomorrow. Such interests of these foreign publications is not necessarily in consonance or in conformity with our national interests, whether it be those pertaining to laws, legislations or policies or even those related to customs and ethics".

"So, what a defect we have made, and what a disaster we have created, with our own hands, which will take us by surprise tomorrow when it will be too late to regret", he added.

"This is actually a dilemma we made, not others.

We put our national journalists and media men in such a plight that the (free zone) magazine did not hesitate to describe them and us as prostitutes of the government".

"We put forth the issue to review once again — the topics of national empowerment, covering political, socio-economic aspects, and cultural domination. Today, we, the citizens, the government, the people, and leader, are in the same boat, facing one peril that threatens us in our homeland. It is a danger which perhaps we have created with our hands-not created by others", he said.

"So, we, as devoted journalists and driven by a nationalistic sense of belonging and possessing a keen interest in the future of our children, grand children, and in our own entity and existence, we would be useless if we don't say it today, and not tomorrow", the Gulf News Editor said.

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