A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, consistent promotion of propaganda/conspiracies, poor or no sourcing to credible information, a complete lack of transparency and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for the purpose of profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact checked on a per article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake news unless specifically written in the reasoning section for that source. See all Questionable sources.
- Overall, we rate The National Questionable based on poor sourcing, promotion of state-propaganda, lack of transparency and censorship.
Reasoning: Poor Sourcing, Propaganda, Lack of Transparency, Censorship
Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)
World Press Freedom Rank: United Arab Emirates 131/180
Launched in 2008, The National is the English language daily based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The National initially was published by Abu Dhabi Media (government-owned media company). In 2016, The National was acquired by International Media Investments and relaunched in 2017. The National covers local and international news, business, arts, culture, lifestyle, and sports. Mina Al-Oraibi is the Editor-in-Chief.
Funded by / Ownership
The National is owned by International Media Investments (IMI). International Media Investments is not transparent about its ownership on its website. IMI describe itself as “a privately owned investment company focused on building a portfolio of quality media assets across the globe.” Our research reveals International Media Investments (IMI) is a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation (ADMIC), which is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, half-brother of Abu Dhabi’s ruler and UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. The National’s revenue is derived from advertisements.
Analysis / Bias
In 2020, Reporters Without Borders ranked United Arab Emirates (UAE) 131/180 in their Press Freedom Index, stating that “the authorities can censor local or foreign publications if they criticize domestic policies, the economy, the ruling families, religion or the UAE’s relations with its allies.” Abu Dhabi’s ruler and UAE President is Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
In review, The National publishes articles with headlines that have strong emotionally loaded language when covering rival countries such as “Turkey’s imperialist streak masks its inner turmoil”, “Why Europe should practise social distancing with Turkey” and “Iran’s ‘amazing’ Covid-19 detectors identified as re-purposed fake bomb scanners”.
The National does not criticize and mostly focuses on positive coverage of the country’s ruling families, such as “Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid turns 70: A look back at his life” and “Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid tours Dubai’s Fish Farm”. The National also reports selectively when the issue doesn’t resonate with the Ruler. For example, news related to his wife, where The New York Times reports “Princess Haya, Wife of Dubai’s Ruler, Seeks Protective Order”, however, The National does not report this or any other news related to her after the divorce. Prior to the divorce, they covered her regularly with positive stories such as “Princess Haya’s biscuit fund: how a simple packet can save a child’s life”. The National often sources through quotes and utilizes Emirates News Agency (WAM) which is the official news agency of the United Arab Emirates. They also republish Reuters news stories. When covering world news, pertaining to the USA, they cover the Trump administration with a negative tone “Trump rally disappoints with small crowd in Tulsa”. In general, this is a source that promotes pro-State propaganda and poorly sources information.
Failed Fact Checks
- None to date
Overall, we rate The National Questionable based on poor sourcing, promotion of state-propaganda, lack of transparency, and censorship. (8/29/2016) Updated (M. Huitsing 6/23/2020)