Friday, June 09, 2006

A Zephyr of Change?

Last year, UAE newspapers had to condemn the 2005 US Human Trafficking report without actually mentioning it by name, and certainly could not mention that several Gulf countries had been condemned by the report.

This year, the report was in several UAE newspaper articles, including the fact that the UAE moved up a notch from Tier 3 (the very bottom: trafficking common and nothing being done) to Tier 2 Watch (trying to stop trafficking, but could be doing better, and being closely watched since it was Tier 3 last year), and even reported that Saudi is still Tier 3.

The article said that the UAE wants to move up further, and is going to revise its laws on human trafficking. It looks like someone in power wants the UAE to move up to Tier 1.

Since all newspaper articles here must be approved by the government, this represents a significant change in the censorship policies.

All in all, this looks promising, both for opening up the news and for a reduction in human trafficking.

Of course, this is only a zephyr and a promise. Watch carefully.

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