Qatar is in need of a new press law says Robert Menard, Director General, Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF). He said the press law in the country has not been amended since 1979 and changes are expected soon.
“There shall be a change in the media law in Qatar,” said Menard addressing a press conference and discussion held at the Millennium hotel in Doha, yesterday. He said the 1979 press and publications law is “open to broad interpretation” and the law gave substantantial power to the authorities, never been amended. Menard further said he had discussions with H H Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned regarding the law reforms.
“I have made commitments to Sheikha Mozah and she too has made me commitments. I trust she will change everything,” he said. The absence of a special court to handle media offences and staffed by judges familiar with the functions of media was also flagged as was of media trade unions or associations. “Journalists should be allowed form their own unions and protect their rights,” he said.
DCMF also released a report on Media Freedom in Middle East and North Africa. The report says Middle East and North Africa faces many obstacles but its slightly moving in the right direction. “The region’s governments shelve their ideological differences to agree that freedom of expression is dangerous and media outlets that defend it are potential threats,” says the report. “Things are slowly moving in the right direction, taboos are shrinking,” it further said. DCMF which was established last year in a joint venture between Qatar and Paris based Reports Without Borders also plans to open offices in Gaza, West Africa and Asia to expand its functions.
Way to go Robert!
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