The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven states formed in 1971 by the
then Trucial States after independence from Britain.
Although each state - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah and
Umm al Qaiwain - maintains a large degree of independence, the UAE is governed by a
Supreme Council of Rulers made up of the seven emirs, who appoint the prime minister and
Before the discovery of oil in the 1950s, the UAE's economy was dependent on fishing
and a declining pearling industry. But since 1962, when Abu Dhabi became the first of the
emirates to begin exporting oil, the country's society and economy have been transformed.
The ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed, president of the UAE since its inception, was
quick to seize on the potential of the oil industry, ensuring the development of all the
emirates by reinvesting oil revenues back into healthcare, education and national
infrastructure. The oil industry has also led to a large influx of foreign workers who now
make up approximately three quarters of the population.
The UAE is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf, with other cultures and
beliefs generally tolerated.
Population: 3 million (UN, 2003) Capital: Abu Dhabi Major language: Arabic
Major religion: Islam Life expectancy: 73 years (men), 77 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Dirham = 100 fils Main exports: Oil, gas GNI per capita:
US $19,550 (World Bank 1998) Internet domain: .ae International dialling code: +971
President, ruler of Abu Dhabi: Sheikh Zayed Bin-Sultan Al Nahyan
Sheikh Zayed succeeded his brother as ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1966 and, because of his
strong leadership and commitment to forming the federation, he was elected as the first
president of the United Arab Emirates in 1971.
He has been reelected every five years since 1971. He has instilled the values of
religious tolerance and equality, especially for women, into his policies, which have
greatly enhanced the stability of the UAE.
- Vice-president, prime minister, ruler of Dubai: Sheikh Maktum Bin-Rashid Al Maktum
- Ruler of Ajman: Sheikh Humaid Bin-Rashid al-Nuaimi
- Ruler of Fujairah: Sheikh Hamad Bin-Muhammad Bin-Hamad al-Sharqi
- Ruler of Ras al Khaimah: Sheikh Saqr Bin-Muhammad al-Qasimi
- Ruler of Sharjah: Sheikh Sultan Bin-Muhammad al-Qasimi
- Ruler of Umm al Qaiwain: Sheikh Rashid Bin-Ahmad al-Mualla
Dubai aspires to be a regional and international centre for television and media
services, alongside Egypt and Lebanon. An Electronic Commerce and Media Zone Authority was
created in 2000 to attract regional and international media outlets.
Dubai Media City and its counterparts offer two key advantages: lower costs and freedom
Major media organisations - including Reuters and Sony - and publishers, artists and
writers have moved in. Established satellite broadcaster MBC decided to relocate to Dubai
Media City from London.
Other influential pan-Arab satellite TV stations based in the UAE include Abu Dhabi TV
which mounted extensive coverage of the US-led military campaign in Iraq in 2003.
The constitution of the UAE provides for freedom of speech but there is strong
regulatory and political control of media content.
A 1988 law requires that publications be licensed and outlines acceptable subjects of
reporting. Foreign publications are censored before distribution. Journalists tend to
practise self-censorship when reporting on such matters as government policy and ruling
Internet use in the UAE is extensive; by 2008 there were more than one million users.
- Gulf News
- Khaleej Times
- Emirates Dubai TV - pan-Arab broadcaster
- Abu Dhabi TV - pan-Arab broadcaster
- Ajman TV
- Sharjah TV
- MBC - Dubai-based pan-Arab broadcaster
- Al-Arabiya - news channel operated by MBC
- Abu Dhabi Radio
- Radio Asia - commercial, broadcasts in Hindi, Urdu and Malayalam
- Ras al Khaimah Radio
- Al-Arabya FM - commercial
- Free FM - English-language
- City FM - programmes in English and Urdu
- Emirates News Agency (WAM) - official