Abu Dhabi: Residents in the capital city feel that there's freedom of the press in the UAE's English and Arabic language newspapers, compared to other papers in the Arab world.
Dr Michael Bitzer, Chief Executive Officer at the National Health Insurance Company (Daman) reads both English and Arabic newspapers. Even though he doesn't understand Arabic, he gets the topics that interest him translated to him on a daily basis.
He especially follows medical related articles due to his profession which requires constant update on the daily happenings across the UAE.
"I've had a lot of feedback from various European friends in the last six months about the quality of journalism in the country's English newspapers and everyone is surprised at the freedom of press portrayed in the articles," said Bitzer, adding, "they especially referred to Gulf News and The National which they skimmed through carefully during their stay."
Bitzer however feels that journalists do very little research when necessary, due to time and space constraints.
He also thinks that specialised reporters need to be recruited and/or put in the appropriate positions or given proper beats.
"Journalists need to know what they are writing about. Having background information on your beat would help improve your article," he said.
Gulf News in particular should minimise the amount of advertisements in the paper, he added. "Even though I'm very happy reading Gulf News on a daily basis, I end up throwing half a kilo worth of paper due to the advertisements, and most of the time the adverts are repetitive. This should be cut down since it loses the reader's eye!"
Aida Auwad is an Egyptian/Canadian national who follows the news carefully and expressed her appreciation for the press coverage in both English and Arabic.
"I take the time to read both English and Arabic newspapers and feel the quality of journalism is excellent, not to mention that there's freedom of speech. I also realised that the quality of print is pretty good in all papers across the UAE in comparison to other countries," said Auwad.
An American Clinical Psychologist Dr Isis Badawi slightly disagrees and feels that there is unnecessary censorship in most papers.
"I would like to see more opinions and editorials that discuss how things are really happening and the true picture instead of simply reporting facts. There needs to be more in-depth articles about society, community and life in the UAE. I sometimes feel that the articles are tailor-made and superficial," she said.
The psychologist does however feel that the quality of language skills compared to other papers across the Arab world is better.