Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

Freedom of the Press - Qatar (2004)

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 28 April 2004
Cite as Freedom House, Freedom of the Press - Qatar (2004), 28 April 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4734512c23.html [accessed 31 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Status: Not Free
Legal Environment: 14
Political Influences: 24
Economic Pressures: 23
Total Score: 61

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 72
Religious Groups: Muslim (95 percent), other (5 percent)
Ethnic Groups: Arab (40 percent), Pakistani (18 percent), Indian (18 percent), Iranian (10 percent), other (14 percent)
Capital: Doha

Qatar took a small step forward in improving the legal environment for press freedom with the approval of a new constitution in 2003, but political and economic control remains in the hands of elites with close relationships with the royal family. The new constitution, approved in a referendum in April, offers guarantees for press freedom, and the state generally refrains from direct censorship. However, leading figures with ties to the royal family continue to influence content in print and broadcast media. Although the five leading daily newspapers are privately held, owners and board members of these newspapers include royal family members and other notables. As a consequence, direct criticism of the government is rare. A telephone call-in show sponsored by a government-owned radio station provided an opportunity for citizens to vent concerns about problems in public services. In March, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifah Al Thani, granted a pardon to a Jordanian journalist who had been convicted and sentenced to death for passing military and other information from Qatar to Jordan while working for the state-owned Qatar Television. Qatar is the base of the most popular satellite television channel in the region, Al Jazeera, which generally shies away from covering issues directly related to politics in Qatar.

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