Newland's Arab press gang won't be freedom fighters

Axegrinder just had to bring you one more snippet from that now infamous memo that Martin Newland, in the Emirates now, has sent to staff setting up a new newspaper:

We just can’t wait for the launch date…

Understand now that we are not here to fight for press freedom – to get yarns about money laundering under the state radar. We are here to produce a professional, commercially viable newspaper. Press freedom is a byproduct of this. The more we zero in on templated “red line” stories at the expense of human interest and the ordinary narrative of life in the UAE, the more we look like a foreign newspaper, peering into the goldfish bowl.

Often the human interest narrative is the way into the red line story anyway. We cannot adopt the stance of the exasperated Westerner. We go at the country’s cultural pace. Do not pick small fights if there is a bigger one to be won down the road. If in doubt, ask. And remember, above all, that we are not here to pick a fight with Dubai. We are here for Dubai as well.

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