Why being an Emirati writer for an English-language newspaper is a privilege

Empowering young citizens — especially women — to join the field of journalism will ultimately contribute to the development of the UAE

by

Rasha Abu Baker

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Published: Tue 18 Apr 2023, 9:37 PM

As Khaleej Times marks its 45th anniversary, I am filled with immense pride to be part of an institution that has paved the way for English media in the UAE. As one of the few Emirati journalists working in an English-language newspaper, I am honoured to share my journey, express my passion for breaking barriers, and empower young Emiratis aspiring to join the field of journalism.

Joining Khaleej Times almost two years ago was a turning point in my career. I am incredibly lucky to have a platform where I can write about topics that matter to me, raise awareness on different subjects, educate and inform the public, and make an impact through my voice.

Being an Emirati writer expressing in English allows me to reach a wider audience and build a bridge across different cultures. This is a privilege I cherish, as it enables me to share and connect thoughts, ideas, and beliefs, to the wider audience, both locally and internationally.

During my time here, I have witnessed the newspaper's ambitious efforts to take it to the next level, differentiate itself from competitors, and find its place in the complex media world. There is still room for improvement and much work to be done, and despite the challenges, I am thrilled to be part of this journey, keen to be an Emirati voice, and reflect the achievements of my country through an English-speaking platform.

It is my passion to encourage the Emirati youth to pursue journalism, as I believe that more Emiratis should write, live, and explore as journalists in this country, especially in the English media. To support this goal, I have launched a platform called Young Emiratis, where we welcome young citizens from all around the country to write for our Opinion page. This platform empowers them to express their views on various topics and share their concerns.

As one of only two Emirati female journalists working in the UAE English language newspapers, I believe it is crucial to encourage more women to join this field as well. We need more support and empowerment from the government, as well as improved cooperation with others in the field.

As we strive for a more efficient media practice, press freedom, and empowered journalists, we call for greater cooperation between government bodies, officials, and journalists. To foster growth, we must also actively combat negative misconceptions and misunderstandings about journalists that happen here as elsewhere around the world.

Raising awareness of the role of journalists and their importance in society is vital. I strongly believe that negative stories don't mean that they will reflect negatively. Such stories will allow for more honesty and transparency, they can help the system improve, pushing people to do better, allowing for more accountability, and fostering a healthy competitive environment.

The journey of Khaleej Times goes beyond the newspaper itself; it is a reflection of the desire to report on all aspects of life in the UAE. As we celebrate 45 years of pioneering journalism, and the continuous growth, let us remember the importance of providing opportunities for young Emiratis to join the field, creating a positive environment, and empowering journalists to do their jobs efficiently and effectively.

By fostering a more positive and transparent environment for journalists, we will ultimately be contributing to the growth and development of the UAE.

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