The media in Dubai and elsewhere in the UAE isn’t renowned for its investigative journalism or controversial reportage. Although overt censorship is rarely applied, publications that question the status quo tend to find themselves losing large chunks of advertising revenue (most of which is likely to come from government-owned companies), while offending journalists (virtually all of whom are expats) are likely to have their visas cancelled. For more outspoken news sources, you’ll have to look online.
Newspapers and magazines
Easily the best English-language newspaper is The National (based in Abu Dhabi, but with extensive coverage of Dubai; wthenational.ae). This has excellent local and international reporting and is generally well written and less cringing in its coverage of UAE affairs than other publications. Of the two English-language broadsheets printed in Dubai, Gulf News (wgulfnews.com) is usually a bit better than the Khaleej Times (wkhaleejtimes.com), though both are a bit turgid, with rather too many pictures of random bigwigs attending official engagements and assorted “news” stories which quite clearly originated in a government press release. Look out, too, for the free and occasionally entertaining 7 Days tabloid-style rag (w7days.ae).
Television and radio
There are a number of Emirati television channels, including the English-language Dubai One (wdmi.ae/dubaione), which consists mainly of repackaged US shows and movies, along with a few local programmes. Local English-language radio stations include Virgin Radio Dubai (104.4 FM;
wvirginradiodubai.com) and Dubai 92 (92FM; wdubai92.com), though both largely subsist on an uninspiring diet of mainstream pop-rock and inane DJ chat.