The National (Abu Dhabi)

The National
Logo of The National
Type Daily
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) International Media Investments
Editor-in-chief Mina Al-Oraibi
Deputy editor Daniel Gledhill
Managing editors Laura Koot
Staff writers More than 120
Founded 17 April 2008 (2008-04-17)
Political alignment Pro-government
Language English
Headquarters Abu Dhabi
Circulation Unaudited[1]

The National is a private English-language daily newspaper published in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In November 2016, International Media Investments (IMI) announced the acquisition of The National from Abu Dhabi Media (ADM) and The National was relaunched on July 1, 2017, under the editorship of Mina Al-Oraibi.[2]

History and profile

The National was first published on April 17, 2008 by Abu Dhabi Media.[3][4] The government owned media company ran the newspaper along with other publications including Aletihad, Zahrat Al Khaleej, Majed, and National Geographic Al Arabiya (in partnership with National Geographic.)[5] In 2016, it was acquired by International Media Investments, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation, a private investment company owned by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan that is also part-owner of Sky News Arabia.[5][6] The National has had three previous editors-in-chief: Mohammed Al Otaiba served from February, 2014, to October, 2016;[7] Hassan Fattah from June 2009 to October 2013;[8] and Martin Newland, who was the launch editor, from April 2008 until June 2009.[9][10]

With its pledge to emulate Western newspaper standards and to "help society evolve," The National claims to be an anomaly in the Middle East, where most media are tightly controlled by the government. Before The National moved to private ownership there were several high level resignations across the editorial team regarding spiked stories and the newspaper's impotency when covering stories on Abu Dhabi.[7] However, a major goal in establishing the paper was to have respect from the international community on the part of the government.[11]

During the initial launch The National built its staff levels up to 200, recruiting from newspapers around the world, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and The Daily Telegraph of Britain.[12] [4] Martin Newland was editor of the Daily Telegraph from 2003 to 2005, and he took with him many former Telegraph employees, most notably Colin Randall (former Telegraph executive news editor), Sue Ryan (former managing editor) and senior photographer Stephen Lock (who covered domestic and foreign news and the international fashion circuit during 20 years on The Daily Telegraph).[13]

The 2008 circulation of the paper was 60.000 copies.[14]


The paper is a single selection organised into five daily sections (News, Business, Opinion, Arts & Lifestyle and Sport) and a Weekend edition which comes out every Friday. It covers local and international news, business, sports, arts and life, travel and motoring. In addition, The National publishes two magazines: Ultratravel (quarterly) and Luxury (monthly.) The target group of the paper can be described as 25+, educated, affluent, out and about, business leaders, decision makers and key influencers.[1]

Controversies and allegations of skewed coverage

In a 2012 article in the American Journalism Review, former foreign desk editor Tom O'Hara contended that coverage was skewed to favor the agenda of the government of the United Arab Emirates. He said that the newspaper had a "meticulous censorship process" that directly influenced coverage and word usage in the newspaper, such as prohibiting use of the term "Persian Gulf". He said that the newspaper engaged in self-censorship, suppressing coverage of subjects deemed as casting an unfavorable light on the UAE royal family. He said that, among other things, coverage of the Libyan uprising was suppressed, as were articles about Wikileaks and gay rights.[15]

The New Republic reported in February 2013 that The National had failed to live up to high expectations that had been raised when it was established. The magazine said that the newsroom has had a series of crises during the preceding five years, and that "tensions over the management and direction of the paper have been simmering behind the scenes, with leadership changes, budget cuts, infighting and allegations of rampant self-censorship conspiring to trigger a series of defections that have depleted the paper of much of its marquee talent". The article described examples of rampant self-censorship, and said the newspaper's story was "a cautionary tale about pursuing journalism in a censored society".[16]


  1. 1 2 "UAE" (PDF). Publicitas. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  2. "International Media Investments announces appointment of Mina Al-Oraibi as Editor in Chief of The National". The National. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  3. Brook, Stephen; correspondent, press (2008-04-10). "Martin Newland's Abu Dhabi newspaper ready for launch". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  4. 1 2 Timmons, Heather (2008-04-29). "A New Mideast Paper Vows to Be Different". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  5. 1 2 "International Media Investments acquires ownership of The National". The National. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  6. "Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp and British Sky Broadcasting form joint venture". Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  7. 1 2 "Mohammed Al Otaiba named new editor-in-chief of The National". The National. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  8. "The National's editor-in-chief steps down". The National. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  9. ""We Are Not Here to Fight for Press Freedom"". New Republic. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  10. Greenslade, Roy (2009-06-08). "Roy Greenslade: Martin Newland quits editor's chair in Abu Dhabi". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  11. Reinisch, Lisa. "Environmental Journalism in the UAE" (PDF). Arab Media & Society. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  12. "ذا ناشيونال نافذة إلى الإمارات وجسر إلى الآخر". Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  13. Brook, Stephen (6 February 2008). "Mail showbiz reporter off to Abu Dhabi". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  14. The Report: Abu Dhabi 2009. Oxford Business Group. 2009. p. 209. ISBN 978-1-907065-04-0. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  15. Tom OHara, "Just Make Sure You Don’t Call It the Persian Gulf!", American Journalism Review, December 2012/January 2013.
  16. Joe Pompeo, "We Are Not Here to Fight for Press Freedom: The National wanted to be the Times of the Middle East. It failed", The New Republic, 28 February 2013.
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