Social media reveals how people feel about reopening UAE

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The easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the UAE has been welcomed by the public despite concerns about safety, analysis of social media posts in relation to official announcements shows. (File/AFP)
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Updated 02 July 2020

Social media reveals how people feel about reopening UAE

  • Posts by official bodies such as the Abu Dhabi and Dubai media offices gained high amounts of traction and were widely shared
  • The influence of the media was likewise high in terms of distributing news and updates

DUBAI: The easing of COVID-19 restrictions across the UAE has by and large been welcomed by the public despite lingering concerns about safety, analysis of social media posts in relation to official announcements shows. 
The study, conducted by analytics and technology consultancy Anavizio, captured 8,000 social media posts from May 24 to June 21, including updates by local and federal UAE authorities as well as the media, along with social media users’ reaction to these.
Detailed analysis of a random sample of user posts and comments show 22 percent expressing happiness about the initial reopening of businesses, restaurants, beaches and hotels in late May and early June.


However, 15 percent of users questioned whether the easing of restrictions was coming too early, while 10 percent expressed concerns about the resumption of specific activities such as the reopening of gyms.
Public attitudes evolved during the four weeks covered by the study, with 17 percent of users expressing increased confidence in visiting beaches and restaurants during the latter part of the research period. Nevertheless, concerns remained around public safety and the state of the economy.
Posts by official bodies such as the Abu Dhabi and Dubai media offices gained high amounts of traction and were widely shared, while Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai and chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, proved to be a major voice amplifying government messages. The influence of the media was likewise high in terms of distributing news and updates.


Indian police arrested a local journalist alleging spying for China

Updated 19 September 2020

Indian police arrested a local journalist alleging spying for China

  • One Chinese woman and her Nepalese partner were also arrested for allegedly supplying Sharma with “huge amounts of money” for “conveying information to Chinese intelligence”
  • The arrest comes amid heightened tensions between India and China at their border in the Himalayan region

NEW DELHI: Police in India’s capital city on Saturday said they had arrested a local freelance journalist on allegations he was passing “sensitive information” to Chinese intelligence officers.
In a statement, the Delhi Police said 61-year-old Rajeev Sharma was arrested earlier this week and officers had seized some confidential documents related to the Indian defense department from the journalist’s residence.
One Chinese woman and her Nepalese partner were also arrested for allegedly supplying Sharma with “huge amounts of money” for “conveying information to Chinese intelligence.”
The Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.
Reuters could not immediately reach any of the three individuals, who are under arrest, or their lawyers.
“On interrogation, Rajeev Sharma has disclosed his involvement in procurement of secret/sensitive information and further conveying the same to his Chinese handlers,” Delhi’s Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjeev Kumar Yadav said in the statement.
The arrest comes amid heightened tensions between India and China at their border in the Himalayan region. The relationship between the neighbors has worsened since a clash in June that India says of 20 of its troops were killed.
China suffered “far fewer” than the 20 deaths incurred by India’s military in the clash, according to a tweet this week by the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, which is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.
The police said Sharma was tasked with providing information on India-China boundary issues and other matters in recent years.
It added that between January 2019 and September 2020, Sharma received more than 3 million Indian rupees ($40,799.67) from one of his handlers.
India has in recent months banned several Chinese apps and made it tougher for Chinese companies to make investments.