Oct 3, 2021
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Democracy is nothing if money from Arab sheikhs is at stake

Democracy is nothing if money from Arab sheikhs is at stake

Photo: Gavriil Grigorov / TASS

The Free Press “continues to publish translations of authors from alternative Western media outlets. This is far from the propaganda that CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and other” authoritative “media outlets do. If you are interested in learning more about these authors , you can look here.

The cable news giant is the “official broadcaster” of the UAE’s upcoming six-month state exhibition, which appears to be designed to improve the country’s global image.

Expo 2020 in Dubai, which opened on Friday, promises “greatest show in the world #, according to” spokesman ” Chris Hemsworth advertisements featuring a flying subway train show “capabilities, mobility, resilience, the best examples of human ability,” androids, ballroom dancing and flying whales.

According to the indictment against the fundraiser for Trump Thomas J. BarracThe computer-based circus may not reflect the reality of human rights problems in the United Arab Emirates, support for the Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen, or its alleged efforts to infiltrate the upper echelons of the Republican Party. But this is a short example of a full-blown press branding campaign for the show, a six-month extravaganza that reportedly cost the United Arab Emirates $ 7 billion.

And what is the special advantage of the exhibition selling the laundered version of Dubai and the UAE? CNN. the cable news giant is “the official broadcaster of the show,” according to a CNN press release:

“As the world’s eyes turn to the UAE from October to March at Expo 2020 in Dubai, CNN will become the official broadcaster of the event, providing unrivaled coverage to a global audience and a visible presence at the exhibition itself,” CNN said. …

CNN does not specify whether Expo 2020 is paying for its widespread coverage. But the press release said the network is planning to air its “flagship shows – Connect the World with Becky Anderson, Quest Means Business, and CNN Talk.”

The ambiguity of CNN’s role in covering the exhibition, the track record of creating sponsored content for Dubai, and the publication of many articles on Dubai and promoting tourism in the emirate raise ethical and legal issues.

“CNN’s relationship with the dictatorship that rules the United Arab Emirates lacks transparency,” said Sanjeev Beri, CEO of Freedom Forward, the group spearheading efforts to boycott the exhibition. “The rulers of the UAE have long used propaganda campaigns to cover up their gruesome human rights crimes, and CNN seems to have a role to play in supporting this dictatorship’s PR program.”

The news network appears to have a longstanding financial relationship with Dubai in the interest of promoting the emirate. Responsible Statecraft asked CNN to clarify its role as the “official broadcaster” of the Dubai show, whether the network continues to produce sponsored content for Dubai, and what leverage over the network have or have had Dubai customers to produce sponsored content.

RS also inquired if CNN’s production and distribution of sponsored content to customers in Dubai falls within the scope of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, a law under the Department of Justice requiring legal entities in the United States to register as a “public relations advisor to a foreign principal, advertising agent, information officer or political consultant ”.

Neither CNN nor its parent company Turner Broadcasting (as such – S. D.) are not registered.

CNN did not answer these questions.

“These ‘news articles’ read like propaganda or, at best, tourist brochures,” said Ben Freeman, Director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy. “Many foreign government tourism promotion organizations are registered under the FARA (The Foreign Agents Registration Act). S. D.) and their work doesn’t seem to be much different from what CNN is doing for the UAE. “

CNN is promoting its paid work for Dubai in a case study on the reach and impact of its commercial work on clients. “Dubai has sought to expand its reputation as a leading destination for business, commerce and events, especially targeting those who have never been to Dubai and those who have ever used Dubai only as a stopover,” the study said.

“Leveraging the power of CNN’s platforms, a series of 10 videos have been compiled that broadly cover Dubai’s culture using their signature cinematic storytelling to inspire inspiration,” CNN told CNN.

CNN’s labeling of sponsored content for Dubai seems inconsistent and in some cases downright confusing.

A February article entitled “Dubai gives a glimpse inside its Expo Sustainability Pavilion” aired a video of the exhibition and promoted sustainable energy initiatives that support part of the Expo’s electricity needs.

“CNN shows are often sponsored by the countries and regions we cover,” reads an “editor’s note” at the top of the article. “However, CNN retains full editorial control over all of its reporting.”

CNN did not indicate whether the article or video promoting the Expo was in fact sponsored content.

On Facebook, the video series was tagged as “sponsored by Visit Dubai,” but at least one of these video segments was posted on CNN’s website without disclosing that Visit Dubai was its sponsor.

Earlier this month, reporters Gabe Levin-Drizin and Adam Johnson noted that “CNN has a travel vertical called Dubai Now that focuses solely on how wonderful, fun, progressive, tolerant and innovative the Arab Emirates dictatorship in the Gulf is, and the publication does not say if the articles are paid PR for the regime of the Emirates ”.

They have cataloged 105 articles on tourism promotion in Dubai since early November 2020, which do not disclose information about CNN’s creation of sponsored content to promote travel to Dubai or CNN’s role as the “official broadcaster” of the exhibition.

The six-month exhibition kicked off on Friday and coverage of the event is only picking up steam, according to CNN. If the network’s opacity on its relationship with the Dubai exhibition and tourism continues, it could create an ongoing challenge for those wishing to distinguish its independent journalism from government-sponsored content that promotes a purified image of an undemocratic country with a human rights problem and history. attempts to illegally influence US foreign policy in the Middle East.

By Eli Clifton – Eli Clifton – Senior Advisor to the Quincy Institute and investigative journalist for Responsible Statecraft. He writes about money in politics and US foreign policy. Translated by Sergei Dukhanov.

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