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Posted On: 10 June 2009 09:22 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Advisory panel meeting discusses media freedom

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Media freedom in Qatar was the subject of a heated debate during the scheduled weekly session of the Advisory Council on Monday, according to the local Arabic press. Initiated on the request of 24 members, the focus of the debate was on the council’s report on the issue of media freedom in the country. It was pointed out that some people had been “bought” in to write slanted reports and analyses against Qatar and its achievements. Their reports lack “accuracy and honesty of statement”. Council Chairman Mohamed bin Mubarak al-Kholaify, in his opening remarks, said that it was unfortunate that some “hypocrites had entered the field and were trying to spoil the image of the country”. He quoted a verse from the Holy Qur’an in this context. He described such elements as “poisonous to society”. Member Nasser Rashed al-Kabi called for enhancing the terms of punishment for those who indulge in such slander. He said that the present of provision of imprisonment for a period of six months and a fine of QR3,000 should be increased to one year and QR300,000, respectively. “We are not against media freedom but there are some red lines that should not be crossed. Those who dare to do so should be punished severely,” said another member Khalid Rashed al-Labda. The most extensive observation came from Dr Ahmed Obaidan, a member, who said: “The whole issue should be considered in the light of the changes in press freedom introduced by HH the Emir after he took over the reins of power. “The first decision announced by HH the Emir was to abolish the ministry of information and the lifting of censor on the press. It was a magnanimous measure which is appreciated by everyone. But some television channels and newspapers have taken undue advantage of this freedom. They failed to maintain the sanctity of the given traditions of governance under our beloved Emir and the sanctity of our constitution. “There are certain writers who, after enjoying our munificence, have under the lure of money embarked on slander and on spoiling the good image of our country. What we look forward to is responsible conduct from the media.” Reacting to this debate, mediapersons said that this was an unjustified war against the media. They observed that such a sensitive issue has been discussed without giving any solid proof.