Media caught in information warfare
The outspoken Qatari TV broadcaster Al Jazeera has transformed the media landscape in the rest of the Arab world but ignores what happens in this small emirate, including conditions for the foreign workers who make up most of the population. Qatari journalists are left little leeway by the oppressive legislative arsenal – whose victims include the Doha News website, closed in 2016 – and the draconian system of censorship. Reporting on the government, royal family and Islam are off limits as in the rest of the Persian Gulf and violators risk imprisonment. These are not the only taboo subjects: the publisher of the local version of the New York Times censored a dozen articles on LGBTQ rights in 2018. A 2014 cyber-crime law imposed additional restrictions on journalists and criminalized posting “false news” online. In May 2018, Qatar became a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, following two other Gulf countries, Kuwait and Bahrain. Al Jazeera and its journalists were badly affected by the Saudi-led diplomatic offensive against Qatar in the summer of 2017, which led to the closure of its Riyadh and Amman bureaux.
125 in 2018
40.16 in 2018