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Emirates 24/7: Stop Irresponsible Reporting of Migrant Worker Issues

On September 28, 2012 urges Emirates 24/7 to employ more rigorous selectivity in the articles and op-eds it chooses to publish regarding one of the Gulf’s most marginalized communities. Specifically, the series of pieces composed by Shuchita Kapur raises serious concerns regarding the fair presentation of domestic workers and domestic worker issues.

Kapur’s op-eds are redundant in tone and content - the antagonism towards migrant laborers, and particularly domestic workers, does not foster critical social reflection nor does it endeavor to promote any sort of realistic labor reform. The premise of Kapur’s articles, time and time again, is to unfairly designate workers as the root cause of employer hardship through over-generalizations and over-exaggerations. Kapur’s articles repeatedly trivialize the abuse of foreign workers while elevating the comparatively paltry inconveniences faced by employers; for example, this piece suggests that domestic workers are pampered and overly-demanding, causing undue economic stress on their employers. Kapur does not contextualize the employers’ allegations and does not indicate that such conditions are not only rare, but contradictory to the vast majority of domestic worker experiences. This article reflects Kapur’s remiss attitude towards the mistreatment of workers. In this particular case, Kapur reports on an important instance of exploitation that does require coverage. However, the title commodifies workers and is only further succeeded by cursory commentary. The overall effect of Kapur’s pieces is to rationalize the subordination of domestic workers to their sponsors.

Emirates 24/7 does publish reputable pieces and op-eds relating to migrant rights. Furthermore, each individual is entitled to the free expression of their opinion. However, Emirates 24/7’s publication of such inflammatory pieces does not contribute to a positive conservation. Instead, such one-sided pieces, which are riddled with unsubstantiated accusations, unjustly disparage migrants - with no conceivable purpose aside from maintaining the inequitable status quo.

Both Emirates 24/7 and Kapur should use their influential space as a means to encourage legitimate discussion of migrant rights among their readership, rather than to aggravate misconceptions foreign workers. We are confident and hopeful that Emirates 24/7 will move to play a constructive role in this pivotal discourse.