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THE smoke-filled newsrooms of English dailies in the Dubai of the 1980s where a clutch of newspapers had just debuted should normally have been centres of conflict. Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi journalists of different ideological hues were jostling for space and influence. They carried with them memories of wars and conflicts waged by their countries against one another, memories that should have left a bitter legacy of animus towards neighbours. Thankfully, there was nothing of the sort palpable in the media fraternity. The newsroom skirmishes were limited to differences over grammar and syntax, bylines and, of course, politics.

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