In early December 2001 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan was re-elected as head of state by the supreme council for five years.
In January Dubai Media City, a "free zone" for the media and companies in the informatics sector, was launched. The Arabic satellite television channel Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), formerly based in London, set up in the zone.
Despite the authorities’ commitments in 2000 to give more freedom to the media, self-censorship is still practised by journalists, for fear of sanctions. In particular, journalists avoid mentioning subjects related to religion, morals, "friendly countries" or members of ruling families.