Yasin Kakande: An 8+ years practising Ugandan journalist that was banned for life from the United Arab Emirates in 2013. He exposed the UAE’s heavy media censorship which among others, results in deportation of foreign journalists.
His book ‘The Ambitious Struggle’ highlights the grim conditions of migrant workers from poor countries such as Uganda where he is from…and exposure that led him to being expelled there, for life.
Some of the gross conditions he documents in ‘The Ambitious Struggle’ include racism, forceful HIV tests..for migrant workers of which a positive test… results in DEPORTATION. No treatment is offered to the patient…even as they are kept incarcerated…as arrangements (which can take time) for them to be put on the next available plane…to their home countries…are made.
Audio clip link below, of interview with him (3 years ago) speaking of the unknown life that awaits Ugandans when they arrive in the UAE, with a constant of, grim living conditions including working back-breaking yet low paying jobs, even though many live home, as University graduates.
Yasin Kakande knows a thing or two about the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) excessive media censorship having experienced it daily in his journalistic career.
As news of the pending order to shut-down all Al Jazeera media outlets by Qatar… on orders of four Arab States (United Arabia Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt) surprises the global public, Kakande’s book indicated such heavy media censorship as being the norm in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, four years ago.
His 270 pages book has an entire section ‘Reporting from Dubai’ and sub-divided into 10 small chapters chronicling the challenges he encountered in his daily duties as a journalist (starting at The Gulf-the first publication he reported for in 2004-to The National (in Abu Dhabi) by 2013.
The heavy media censorship results in eg deportation for foreigners like himself and heavy penalties being imposed on media organisations-to the tune of up to US$1.4m (5 million dirhams)-for ‘disparaging’ senior government officials or the royal family.
“In the evening when I arrived at the event the same Public Relations (PR) guy approached me, reminding that reporters had to obey them (the PRs) because they were working for the ruler [Sheikh Sultan]”. he recounts one experience on page 126.
On page 127,he gives further insight into the controlling power PRs have over journalists and the PR being the official censor-personnels of the UAE leaders.
“Not surprisingly, PR people are among the most annoying people for a journalist in the UAE to encounter, especially those in government who thought nothing of leading reporters down false trails of information or censorship.”
“After interviewing a source for a forthcoming story, I could expect to hear from a PR representative demanding every detail about the interview and asking to review copy prior to publication,” he narrates.
He mentions other government institutions such as The Federal National Council (FNC) as the other media censorship instruments of the UAE’s leadership. Through the FNC, the press and publications laws are enforced and used to muzzle the press.
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