Click on the link below to find full details of the policy.
An open letter from the Editor-in-Chief to the readers:
I am often asked this question, especially when interacting with the younger readers: “Do you think newspapers will survive?”
I have no definitive answer to that question, as is the case for the numerous media experts who frequently debate the future of newspapers. But, several readership studies have thrown up one word that just might be key to survival for print journalism. And that is: “reinvention”.
We have to challenge every day, every hour, every minute, every second of our existence as journalists. Our quest is for truth and our endeavour to present all sides of it. A free and fair newspaper presents all aspects of an argument, in a neutral manner. We have to rethink everything that we do and have done in the past.
The vital part in that process is maintaining loyal readers while attracting new, younger ones. Readers should be granted respect and a forum to express their views.
In Gulf News the main platform for that is the space devoted to readers’ letters. It is a place that only has the voice of the readers, edited for clarity, structure, factual error and space. We receive hundreds of responses through email, fax and phone calls. Each one is important to us, but space allows only a few to be published.
The fact that readers have taken the effort to pen their thoughts across to us make them invaluable. The reader comments are picked based on the various viewpoints they offer, argument presented, relevance and focus. We try and give as many people as possible an opportunity to be heard.
As Gulf News and its sister publications evolve and develop, the need exists to formulate basic guidelines to communicate and collaborate with readers. No set of rules could possibly address all situations. But, we have attempted to create a Reader’s Policy based on best practices followed by newspapers around the world. The guidelines in it describe the values and standards we pursue in the journalism we practise at Gulf News. We see this as more of a decision-making process than a set of regulations.
Building an adaptive, constructive culture that is attuned to readers is our primary goal. Such a process changes the ethos of the organisation and treats readers with respect.
The first consolidated step in that direction has been the appointment of the Readers Editor Anupa Kurian.
What is her role and how does it matter to you, the reader?
She is your representative, your point of contact in the newsroom. She is the reader advocate in all news planning and strategy discussions. Her aim is to help the newspaper achieve maximum interaction with its readers and address any concerns or complaints that you may have with the newspaper. She will ensure solutions are achieved and implemented.
Will this guarantee perfect service?
We hope so. There will be the occasional failure, but we will evaluate them objectively and learn, to prevent them from happening too often. It is about creating an environment that is more outward looking and responsive to change. For a newspaper, objectivity is not just an idea that is debated in its editorial pages but a social responsibility.
Objectivity must be supported by a set of guidelines that specify for readers how the newspaper and its editors will handle situations that may arise, to make readers feel as respected, participating members of the newsgathering and disseminating process.
Here we are presenting some of those tools to give readers a fair idea of the guiding principle.
All of it may not be to your satisfaction, but we hope that you will use these means to have a dynamic and robust dialogue with Gulf News, to keep us relevant and alive.
Abdul Hamid Ahmad
A letter should be a rational dialogue about an issue or idea.
It should at all times conform to the code of civil discourse.
The maximum word count is 100.
The letters section has no political inclination. All views are published.
Readers are free to either agree or disagree with any of the opinions, stories or news reports published in the newspaper.
The letters should be exclusive to Gulf News and preferably in response to an article that appeared in the newspaper in the recent past.
To ensure that the letters are honest opinions, we may get in touch with a reader once they are selected, for which we need their contact numbers and address.
Reader privacy will be protected at all times.
Letters are subject to editing, to give as many readers as possible a chance to express their views.
The newspaper reserves the right to publish, edit and limit the number of reader writers. This is to allow for the space to be used by as many readers as possible.
Writers are required to source their information accurately; it is not the responsibility of the newspaper. The publication of a letter is not an endorsement of that viewpoint by the newspaper.
Preference is given to letters that are in response to a report/news that was published in Gulf News.
Preference is given to submissions by members of the Gulf News Reader’s Club.
We do not publish open letters or third-party letters. But, if the need arises, the Editor-in-Chief could allow it after clearance.
We don’t usually accept unsolicited submissions whether faxed or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org . This holds especially for freelance writers and photographers. However, if they are valid and of quality, the Reader’s Desk sends it to the appropriate section to follow up. We are not responsible for the loss or return of these unsolicited pieces.
All letters need a full name, emirate, city and country. Name can be withheld by request.
No defamatory comments will be entertained - a statement that is capable of damaging the reputation of a person or organisation. This opens up the newspaper to libel.Avoid contempt of court - any comment that risks prejudicing ongoing or forthcoming court proceedings. This includes naming a person or speculating about their whereabouts after a court has issued an injunction against doing so.
Responses that incite people to commit any crime, including racial hatred will not be accepted.
Plagiarised content will not be accepted.
Responses that are unlawful, harassing, defamatory, abusive, threatening harmful, obscene, profane, sexually oriented or racially offensive will not be allowed.
A reader is not allowed to impersonate another person or use a false name or a name you are unauthorised to use to create a false identity or email address or try to mislead others as to the identity or origins of any communications.
No personal information in the responses will be published including address, place of employment, name of institution, telephone number and email address.
No advertising of services or websites will be accepted.
Only submissions in English will be taken.
Impersonating other people is unacceptable.
Offensive or otherwise, responses with non-specific user names will not be published.
We receive hundreds of letters every day. So many readers’ submissions might not get printed. We apologise for this.
Gulf News is committed to being fair. If there is an error in the newspaper we will correct it promptly and fully.
If you come across any factual errors, mistakes or inaccuracies, please let us know by emailing email@example.com
We will publish corrections as quickly as possible, be it factual errors, mistakes or inaccuracies
Our policy is to be correct and if we are wrong, to publish a correction the next day.
Clarifications will also be published if important details that impacted the presentation of the story were omitted, despite the overall story being accurate.
Corrections will be published in the same place every day.
Community Journalism line: (04) 4067666
The Gulf News Reader's Desk gives every citizen the chance to be a journalist.
If you have a story idea, suggestion or complaint regarding the editorial content of the newspaper, call the above number. If staff have been rude to you and not listened, call the number.
All staff, including the people manning the switchboard, is responsible to answer reader calls at all times.
Everybody is obliged to listen to the reader.
Non-cooperation with the reader could result in appropriate disciplinary action.
If you have a story idea, suggestion or complaint regarding the editorial content of the newspaper, call (04) 4067666.
If staff have been rude to you and not listened, call (04) 4067666. If you want to convey a comment regarding an issue, call (04) 4067666.
Reader feedback will be taken into account when planning editorial content, make Gulf News your own.
The working hours for the desk are from 8:30am to 8:30pm Sunday to Thursday, and from 8:30am to 6pm on Friday and Saturday.
1. When you submit any contribution (including any text, photographs or graphics) to Al Nisr Publishing LLC and Al Nisr Media FZ LLC, you agree, by submitting your contribution, to grant the Owners a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sub-licensable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, play, make available to the public, and exercise all copyright and publicity rights with respect to your contribution worldwide and/or to incorporate your contribution in other works in any media now known or later developed for the full term of any rights that may exist in your contribution. If you do not want to grant to the Owners the rights set out above, you must not submit your contribution.
2. Further to paragraph 1, by submitting your contribution, you:
2.1 warrant that your contribution; is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to the Owners for all the purposes specified above; is not defamatory; will not cause harm; and does not infringe any law; and indemnify the Owners against all legal fees, damages and other expenses that may be incurred by the Owners as a result of your breach of the above warranty; and waive any moral rights in your contribution for the purposes of its submission to and publication and the purposes specified above. Any material submitted, is assumed to have been supplied in full knowledge and acceptance of these terms.
Information and content guidelines courtesy: Freedom Forum, Poynter Online, The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and Readership Institute
Gulf News has traditionally tackled all reader-related consumer complaints. It is a customer service that we have offered over the years.
However, several factors have changed including the size of the readership and the number of businesses in the country.
As both escalate at a fast pace, we have decided to evaluate our consumer complaint policy and make the necessary alterations that reflect the changing environment in the country.
1. The Reader’s Desk will tackle consumer complaints that are related to organisations/companies that offer a public service such as telecom providers, banks, housing, health sector and government departments including the municipal bodies, water and electricity boards, roads and transport authority and other emergency services.
1.1 All other consumer complaints will not be entertained.
1.2 Gulf News reserves the right to reject a complaint at any stage of the process. The reader will be informed of this.
1.3 A consumer complaint related to the sectors covered as detailed in paragraph 1 would first be evaluated for the Nation section, if they could pursue it as a “Reader Complaint” article.
1.4 If not, it will then be appraised to see if the response/result would be of service/value to a larger reader base.
1.5 If yes, the following procedure will be put into action:
The reader will be contacted and asked to fill in a form with the following details —
Identify the business/organisation:
• The name and current address of the business.
• The phone numbers and name/s of the people you contacted.
Describe the problem:
• What is the problem?
• Were you told something that was untrue?
• Describe what you were told and how it was untrue.
• Explain what is wrong.
• Telephone numbers
• Are you a Gulf News subscriber?
2. If the reader is not a Gulf News subscriber, we will only pursue the complaint if it is of high value to our readers when published. Otherwise the reader will be informed that we cannot pursue it.
3. Procedure for tackling a consumer complaint:
• Once the form is filled and returned, a complaint letter will be sent to the organisation/business with the details.
• The company/organisation has the right to get in touch with the complainee to resolve the matter directly. A reader can withdraw his or her complaint if satisfied, but we would need this confirmation in written format from the company/organisation.
• It will be first sent to the manager or the company's customer service representative. Most problems should be resolved at this level.
3. After two reminders, each one 10 days apart, if there is still no response, the head of the company could be contacted. But, this is optional and dependent on whether the complaint is worth being pursued further.
4. For complaints that we cannot tackle, we would advice the reader to file it with the Economic Department or a consumer service body.
All reader submissions must be of original authorship, unless otherwise intended. All submissions have to provide the following information in a clear and detailed manner: Name of the original author, contact number, email address, where, when and how the photograph was taken.
Plagiarised submissions will result in stringent legal action against the person submitting the content. They will be named and shamed in print and banned from any further submissions to the organisation.
In case of photographs that involve members of public, the person submitting the photograph, who would be the original author, needs to have obtained clear permission to include them in the photograph’s composition.
We reserve the right to reject submissions at any stage.
Unsolicited submissions are subject to all of the above-mentioned conditions.
When selecting submissions for publishing or display on any of our digital platforms, preference will be given to Gulf News subscribers and Gulf News Readers Club members.
Endangering the environment, animals or a person in the process of taking a photograph is unacceptable.
Technically manipulated work using photo editing software will not be accepted, unless otherwise specified.
All submissions can be used on multiple digital and print platforms of the organisation.