Saturday, May 03, 2014
Doha News Community Meeting
Tonight I went to the Grand Hyatt Hotel to go to the fifth anniversary community meeting for Doha News.
It was really nice, they had a big ballroom and staff from the Grand Hyatt were serving appetizers before the talk, Omar from Doha News told me that this was all provided by the hotel as part of the Grand Hyatt’s sponsorship of the event. There were probably around 200 people there.
Most of the talk was a Q&A with the Doha News staff. What I found most intriguing was when they said they had never been contacted by any official or government representative and told not to report a story, something that I think a lot of people assumed would be happening here. They noted that press freedom in Qatar is probably better than it is in the rest of the GCC where there are a lot more restrictions and problems such as people being imprisoned for a tweet or a blog post.
Afterward they announced that they would be starting an annual membership as a means to raise funds to keep Doha News independent. They do get money from ads from their website but it's not really enough to cover their current expenses. You can go to their website, dohanews.co, to get a membership or even just to contribute some money to support independent journalism.
I even won a door prize, a dinner for two at the W. Today was a lucky day.