Young Emiratis have been cautioned by a top education official to approach news stories with scepticism because some news is "created" rather than reported.
Speaking at the Mohammed bin Zayed Majlis for Future Students on Monday, Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, chairman of the department of education and knowledge in Abu Dhabi, told hundreds of Emirati university students that they are the target of a media campaign to tarnish the image and interests of the UAE.
“It isn’t the leaders that are a target, it is you,” he said.
Dr Al Nuaimi said the international coverage of the war in Yemen was an example of such smear campaigns.
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“Our armed forces are fighting in Yemen and behind each contingent is another one to provide aid, build schools and reconstruct the country," he said.
"The UAE has never entered a country without providing aid and support.
"And yet our enemies have partnered with media organisations who have reported that the UAE has a prison camp and is committing human rights abuses in Yemen.
"They have bought charity organisations who support them in these lies,” he said, referring to an Amnesty International report that accused the Emirates of involvement in Yemeni prisons.
In July, the UAE rejected those allegations, stressing that Yemeni prisons are fully managed by Yemeni authorities and fall under the jurisdiction of Yemeni state institutions.
The government said the Amnesty report was based on political motives aimed at undermining the UAE's efforts, within the framework of the Arab Coalition, to support Yemen's internationally recognised government against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
"There is no such thing as reporting news," Dr Al Nuaimi said on Monday. "[News] is created and, depending on the organisations’ agenda, it is either fake or real. Don’t deal with any source of media without scepticism.”