“We aim to produce an excellent newspaper out of the region” that will set a new standard for other publications to aspire to, said Hassan M. Fattah, the deputy editor, who was a correspondent for The New York Times in the Middle East before joining The National. “Being government-owned does not equal being government-run,” he said. “There are no ministers sitting in my office” telling the paper what to write.
-A New Mideast Paper Vows to Be Different - New York Times
Abu Dhabi has a new, free newspaper – despite being owned by the crown prince (and therefore the government) So far so good, today's front page of their website had a story about rock quarries producing too much dust for government standards. The story not quite an exposè – it's actually not even new news, and the story doesn't specify the government's role in the matter beyond saying that the judiciary has already ruled on the matter. However, it is a good issue to call attention to, and good to see on a front page of a newspaper that's trying to separate itself from the government.
Already, the paper has attracted some serious competition: on Monday, The Financial Times of London said that it was introducing a new edition for the Middle East, with editorial offices based in Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi is one of the more westernized countries in the Middle East, and things look good so far, but it's definitely a 'wait and see' case.