Yesterday, the United Arab Emirates barred sales and distribution of the News Corp.–owned Sunday Times, which carried a story about the Dubai debt crisis. According to Bloomberg, it wasn’t so much the coverage of the crisis that offended the country’s National Media Council, but the accompanying Post-like Photoshop of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum “floundering in a sea of debt.”
Under a new draft law, local media organizations which “insult” senior government officials or the royal family face fines of up to five million dirhams ($1.36 million), and those which knowingly publish “false information” or stories which “harm” the economy may be fined up to 500,000 dirhams.
Sensitive. And we don’t think this bodes well for the U.A.E.’s hopes of becoming a world power, quite frankly. If Dubai really wants to play with the big boys, they’ve got to get a tougher skin. By News Corp. standards, this isn’t even that bad! They could have made him look like Little Orphan Annie.