Prominent Qatari writers and poets want a stringent press law and say the whip must be cracked on erring journalists.
Interestingly, most of these celebrated litterateurs are newspaper columnists or are occasionally represented on TV and radio.
They told Al Sharq they strongly back the Advisory Council’s move to amend the existing press law which was enforced years ago and incorporate provisions specifying strict punitive action against scribes who ‘cross their limits’.
Only one radio journalist, Saeed Al Hajri, said he did not find any journalist writing against the state or defaming anyone. “So no one is worried about the new law,” he said.
According to Al Sharq, the proposed amendments which have in principle been given the go-ahead by the State Cabinet is an issue of heated debate among local journalistic and literary circles.
Writer and poetess, Amina Al Emadi, said: “Freedom should have some limits and one must not cross them.” She said she was all for action against journalists who misused freedom.
“In 25 years of my writing career I have never ever written against anyone,” she said. Similar was the view of Hassan Al Mohannadi. He said media freedom should be handled with responsibility.
“Those who can’t behave responsibly have no right to be in the profession of journalism.”
Saad Al Kuwari, famous writer and poetess, said since theirs was a country with history and tradition, there was the need to safeguard the heritage. “I support the move to amend the press law,” she commented.
Zakia Malallah, expressing similar view, said she was all for a new press law that would crack the whip on erring scribes. “We need such a legislation because we are in a developmental phase and mega projects are being launched.”
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