The communications system has been dramatically improved and expanded in recent years. Telecommunications operations in the emirates are all handled by ETISALAT. The Jabal 'Ali earth satellite station in Dubai maintains telephone and telegraph traffic, telex data transmission, and color television broadcasting; computer-controlled automatic telex systems have been installed in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In 1998, the UAE had 915,223 main telephone lines and 1 million cellular phones in use. A color television network connects Abu Dhabi with Dubai and Sharjah. UAE Radio has broadcasting stations in four emirates; the first commercial station was opened in Abu Dhabi in 1980. As of 1999 there were 8 AM and 3 FM radio stations and 15 television stations. In 2000 the UAE had 318 radios and 292 television sets for every 1,000 people.
The Provisional Constitution provides for free expression; however, the government restricts expression in practice. All published materials must be licensed by the Ministry of Education, which governs content and allowable subjects. The media practice self-censorship on the subjects of government policy, the ruling families, national security, religion, and international relations.Arabic-language dailies published in the UAE in 2002 include: Al-Khalij (2002 circulation, 85,000), Al-Ittihad ( Unity , 58,000), Al-Fajr ( The Dawn , 50,000), Al-Wahdah (30,000), and Al-Bayan (32,650). There were three English language dailies: the Gulf News (91,530) and Khaleej Times (72,000), published in Dubai, and the Emirates News (21,150), published in Abu Dhabi.