How UAE suppresses freedom of the press

Newsweek reports: Sean O’Driscoll, who co-wrote a damning investigation into human rights violations and brutal labor practices endured by migrant workers building New York University’s campus in Abu Dhabi published by The New York Times, was officially deported from the United Arab Emirates last October. Before that happened, he says he was tailed for months by pursuit cars, bribed, propositioned to spy on other foreign journalists and possibly traced by way of his cell phone. Here’s the story of what allegedly happens when a journalist tries to report on unflattering activity in the UAE.

O’Driscoll had been working in Abu Dhabi as a journalist for nearly two years when the trouble started. In December 2013, the Guardian published an article he co-wrote under a pseudonym (Glenn Carrick) examining the labor conditions involved in erecting the Guggenheim, the Louvre, and a New York University campus on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. O’Driscoll, who is Irish and tall, used the pseudonym for his safety, but when a video circulated with the Guardian story showed a tall guy—face obscured and voice deepened, but with a distinct Irish accent—asking questions, O’Driscoll figured he’d had his cover blown.

“How many tall irish reporters are there working in Abu Dhabi asking questions about labor rights? It’s kind of a narrow field,” he says.

That’s when he says the pursuit cars started showing up in his rearview mirror. [Continue reading…]

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