CNN is providing global publicity for a repressive monarchy that has killed thousands of civilians in Yemen. That monarchy is the United Arab Emirates — the UAE — and CNN is serving as the official broadcaster for the UAE Dubai Expo.
Writers Gabe Levine-Drizin and Adam Johnson have already documented how CNN has done more than 106 PR articles for the UAE since November 2020, and only one article disclosed a “sponsorship.”
That’s why we want to know: Was CNN hired by the UAE dictatorship to provide softball coverage of the UAE’s biggest propaganda event ever — the UAE Dubai Expo?
CNN’s relationship with the UAE dictatorship runs deep. For over a decade, CNN has based its Middle East hub in Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE. In a 2019 CNN press release celebrating 10 years in the UAE, CNN anchor Becky Anderson strangely declared, “We have also been able to tell the story of the UAE to the world…”
The rulers of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates use their brand of luxury to hide their vast human rights crimes. While the world focuses on Dubai’s giant skyscrapers, the UAE monarchy has:
- Kidnapped and disappeared adult princesses who have tried to flee.
- Bombed and killed thousands in Yemen.
- Imprisoned critics at home.
- Violated women’s rights.
- Enabled abuse of thousands of migrant workers.
- Blocked democracy and backed dictators across the Middle East.
- Helped Israel hide its apartheid against Palestinians behind a wall of propaganda.
The UAE Dubai Expo is the dictatorship’s latest propaganda event, and it looks like CNN is turning its global news network into a PR platform for the UAE monarchy.
The UAE Dubai Expo will run from October 2021 to March 2022. It is a glamorous global event that the UAE is using to promote itself to the world with a flood of propaganda. As the “official broadcaster” of the expo, CNN is providing a global platform for a highly repressive regime that wants to build political clout and attract investors.
Meanwhile, the UAE’s human rights violations continue. Even the head of the UAE Dubai Expo himself has been accused of sexual assault.
The European Parliament cited these human rights concerns in a resolution of disapproval asking EU member states to boycott the event. CNN is a global news network, not a PR firm: the network should be reporting on these human rights violations, not doing PR for the regime responsible for these atrocities.
But take a look at CNN’s November 2021 “reporting” about the UAE monarchy — does this look like real journalism to you?
- “Bravo announces ‘The Real Housewives of Dubai’”1
- “50-foot giants and superstar architects: Inside Expo 2020’s Mobility pavilion”2
- “Morocco’s pavilion showcases an ancient alternative to concrete at Expo 2020 Dubai”3
- “DJ Khaled is selling chicken wings now”4
- “See CNN anchor learn traditional Irish dance from iconic group”5
- “A tiny robot to plant seeds in the desert and a simple way to keep plastic out of the ocean: Global Grad Show looks to a greener future”6
- “Dubai ruler says UAE to host COP28 climate conference in 2023”7
- “Saving our planet for future generations”8
Convinced yet? Tell CNN: you are a news network, not a publicity platform for the UAE monarchy. Sign our petition today and share it with friends and family .
We’ve got a few more articles from November to share (links below):
- “Innovations from Global Grad Show 2021”9
- “Aqua Pods are floating modules for shopping and living”10
- “See the teaser trailer for ‘The Real Housewives of Dubai'”11
- “Inside the Morocco pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai”12
- “Hyperrealistic 50-foot giants made by ‘The Lord of the Rings’ effects team”13
- “UAE foreign minister meets Assad, in highest-profile Emirati visit to Syria since start of war”14
That’s it. Are you shocked? Just three out of the 14 November articles about the UAE/Dubai are news articles. The rest are pure propaganda for a dictatorship.
We demand that CNN make public their contract with the UAE, disclose whether they were paid by the dictatorship to cover the UAE Expo, and commit to reporting on UAE’s human rights violations.
If CNN cannot commit to independent reporting of the UAE, including disclosing its own financial ties and contract with the regime, then CNN must drop out as the official broadcaster of the event.
Publicly disclose the terms of your contract and report on the UAE’s human rights abuses or drop out of the expo as the official broadcaster.