United Arab Emirates Removes Sunday London Times From Newsstands

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DUBAI — The Sunday London Times newspaper was removed by authorities from shelves in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday amid intensive reporting of Dubai’s debt problems, an executive at the paper said.

The National Media Council ordered the paper blocked by distributors without providing a reason, an executive at the paper in Dubai told Zawya Dow Jones.

The Sunday Times edition available in the U.A.E. on Nov. 29 featured a double-page spread graphic illustrating Dubai’s ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum sinking in a sea of debt. The Times wasn’t given a reason for the block, or a timeframe when it will be lifted, the executive said.

A government official in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E., said that the picture of Sheik Mohammed, which accompanied a story entitled: The sinking of Dubai’s dream, was “offensive.”

Under the U.A.E.’s media code, publications are prohibited from criticizing the sheikdom’s rulers. Local media and government officials have criticized international press coverage of Dubai’s debt crisis. Markets around the world fell last week after the government requested a debt standstill for one of its biggest conglomerates.

Earlier this month Dubai’s Sheik Mohammed told reporters gathered at an investment conference in the city to “shut up” and stop criticizing the emirate and its crucial relationship with Abu Dhabi.

Dubai is struggling to deal with it debts estimated to exceed $80 billion.

The Sunday Times is part of News International, a unit of News Corp., owner of Dow Jones & Co. The Times and The Sunday Times are published in the U.A.E. through a local partner SAB Media.

Write to Andrew Critchlow at andrew.critchlow@dowjones.com
NOVEMBER 30, 2009, 7:07 A.M. ET

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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