List of Qatar Newspapers. Qatar is an Islamic country located in the western North-Eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. With a population of around 2.6 million, Arabic & English are the prominent languages in Qatar. The media history of Qatar cannot be studied as a standalone entity because of the pre-independence history of the region.
Qatar has a long history of being ruled by the Al Khalifa family of Bahrain and the Ottoman empire between 1783 and 1915. After the Anglo-Turkish Convention of 1913, the ottomans agreed to repudiate their claim over Qatar and they eventually withdrew from Qatar in 1915. Beyond 1915 Qatar remained a British protectorate until 1968 when the British announced their withdrawal from the Persian Gulf. It was in the year 1971, Qatar decided to remain an independent state.
The media history of Qatar dates back to the birth of Gulf Press at the beginning of the 20th century in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. Over the years it spread to Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates between the early 1960s and 1970s. It was in the year 1972, the first newspaper was published and circulated in Qatar which was a weekly newspaper.
During the ’70s and 80s, Qatar’s media scene was under the control and supervision of the information ministry and its censorship office. The entire media platforms were strictly monitored and there were restrictions on journalists when it came to reporting. It was in the year 1995 when Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani deposed his father, Qatar took the first step towards freedom of the press.
In 1995 Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani withdrew the censorship of the newspapers. In the following year, he dissolved the ministry of information and censorship, eventually giving more freedom to press. Citizens of Qatar in the year 2003, voted in favour of a new constitution that guaranteed freedom of the press. But it is rather unfortunate to note that media freedom in Qatar remains an unfulfilled promise to journalists.
As per the 2016 World Press Freedom Index, Qatar ranks 129th out of 180 countries which are the lowest ranking the country has seen in a decade. The dwindling press freedom in Qatar is the result of the Law No. 8 of 1979 “On the Press and Publication”.
The newly adopted constitution of Qatar which clearly defined individual rights and duties had 150 articles. Among the 150 articles, Article 48 speaks about the freedom of the press and it says “press freedom, printing and publishing is assured in accordance with the law.” The law mentioned in the constitution is Law No. 8 of 1979 “On the Press and Publication,” otherwise known as the Press Law of Qatar.
The 1979 press law of Qatar is itself a law that calls for self-censorship by journalists and media houses. It is rather interesting to note that the Press law of 1979 still remained intact even after the reforms done by Sheikh Hamad which was aimed at liberalising press in Qatar. According to the law “The Emir of the state of Qatar shall not be criticized and no statement can be attributed to him unless under written permission from the manager of his office.” Apart from this, any news or statements that Insult Islam is subject to prosecution. Owing to these reasons, journalists in Qatar are forced to practice self-censorship.
Over the years the media scene in Qatar has grown rapidly and as of 2020, there are 7 major newspapers that are in circulation. Apart from this, there a considerable number of online newspapers too.
List of Qatar Newspapers
1 Al Watan
2 Al Arab
3 Al Raya
4 Al Sharq
6 Gulf Times
7 The Peninsula
8 Qatar Tribune
9 Al Jazeera
10 Doha News
11 Qatar Television
12 Stad Doha
13 Qatar Gulf News
14 Qatar Actu
15 Doha Insight
16 Raya Sports
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