Flight of fancy: How media got it wrong over woman detained at Dubai airport

Flight of fancy: How media got it wrong over woman detained at Dubai airport
Dr Ellie Holman and four-year-old daughter Bibi (pictured together) have been told they can return home after being locked up in a Dubai prison. (Courtesy of social media)
Updated 15 August 2018

Flight of fancy: How media got it wrong over woman detained at Dubai airport

Flight of fancy: How media got it wrong over woman detained at Dubai airport

LONDON: It was no surprise that the story of a woman detained at Dubai airport for supposedly having had a glass of wine on an Emirates flight went around the world.
International media jumped at the chance to publish yet another salacious tale from the emirate — and this one seemingly had all the ingredients the press love: A 44-year-old doctor from the UK traveling with her 4-year-old daughter was asked a simple question about alcohol consumption by an immigration official, she answered truthfully, saying she had had a glass of wine, and was then locked up for three days with her daughter.
On paper it is not hard to see why the story made headlines around the world, but according to Esam Issa Al-Humaidan, the attorney general of Dubai, the true tale was far more mundane and far from the outrage-inducing story told by outlets such as The Daily Mail in the UK.
Having completed an investigation into the case, the Dubai Public Prosecution revealed that far from being arrested for drinking one glass of wine, Ellie Holman, a Swedish national based in the UK, was detained because she had been rude to immigration staff having tried to enter on an expired passport.
Having been told she could not enter on her expired Swedish passport, Holman produced an Iranian one; she was then informed by the immigration officer that she could enter the country having been issued with a new temporary visa, which allowed a 96-hour stay.
The attorney general said Holman took exception to this news, which required her to change her departure flight.
“Ms. Holman refused angrily due to the additional payment fees the process would require, and proceeded to verbally insult the immigration officer and take photos of the officer via her phone,” a statement from Al-Humaidan said.
“A legal claim was issued against Ms. Holman with charges of profanity and photographing a government official at the border crossing, a restricted area.”
Far from being locked up for three days, the attorney general said Holman and her daughter were released within 24 hours of the incident, allowing the child to return to the UK with her father.
“The woman and her child remained together in the airport security office for less than 24 hours while services were provided to them, taking into full account and consideration of her 4-year-old daughter.
“Her father received (his daughter) immediately upon his arrival and they subsequently departed the country.”
The British press in particular sensationalized the story, with the MailOnline reporting that Holman said her daughter was not allowed to use a toilet.
The prosecution decided to drop the charges against Hollman and to deport her instead.


Amazon Prime show agrees to changes after India Hindu outcry

Amazon Prime show agrees to changes after India Hindu outcry
Updated 21 January 2021

Amazon Prime show agrees to changes after India Hindu outcry

Amazon Prime show agrees to changes after India Hindu outcry
  • The Amazon Prime drama “Tandav” drew criticism from members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party
  • Several BJP politicians called for the show to be banned

MUMBAI: The cast and crew of a popular streaming series starring Bollywood megastar Saif Ali Khan have agreed to “implement changes” to the show after ruling party politicians accused it of insulting Hindu gods.
The Amazon Prime drama “Tandav” — loosely compared to the US series “House of Cards” — drew criticism from members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party after its Friday release.
Several BJP politicians called for the show to be banned, saying it was “deliberately mocking Hindu gods” and disrespecting religious sentiments.
One of the criticized scenes depicts a university play in which Hindu deity Shiva talks about “azaadi” (freedom), a rallying cry from 2019’s anti-government protests across the country.
“The cast and crew of Tandav have made the decision to implement changes to the web series to address the concerns raised,” director Ali Abbas Zafar wrote in a post on Twitter late Tuesday.
The cast and crew also apologized on Monday, with Zafar saying that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had told the team it had received “a large number of grievances and petitions... with serious concerns and apprehensions” over the series.
“’Tandav’ is a work of fiction and any resemblance to acts and persons and events is purely coincidental,” he said Monday.
The petitioners include Ram Kadam, a BJP lawmaker in Mumbai, who said he was “fighting for Hindu pride and trying to ensure that nobody dare to mock our Hindu Gods.”
Leading streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon and Disney’s Hotstar, have expanded their presence in the country of 1.3 billion, including by commissioning local content.
The streaming TV services are not subject to the country’s notoriously fussy censor boards, which regularly cut scenes.
But there have been growing calls, particularly from BJP politicians, for the shows to be subject to the same scrutiny.
The most recent controversy involved the BBC’s TV version of Vikram Seth’s epic bestselling novel, “A Suitable Boy,” which is streaming on Netflix, over a scene where a Hindu girl kisses a Muslim boy in front of a temple.
A BJP politician in November filed a police complaint saying the show had hurt Hindus’ religious sentiments.