Saturday, December 03, 2016

Doha News Website Blocked in Qatar

Unfortunately a few days ago both telecom providers here in Qatar blocked the Doha News website, . Readers of this blog will be familiar with Doha News as I frequently link to their stories, and they sometimes cite a blog post of mine, or a couple of times asked me to do opinion articles for them. If you are reading this from outside Qatar then you'll still be able to see their website but for people in Qatar it's blocked. No reason was given before the weekend began, so there was little chance of a statement from the Government until tomorrow when it's a workday again.

Hopefully this will be sorted out soon. According to the Doha News team they had no prior warning nor any kind of message from the Government or a Ministry that something was wrong. There's rampant speculation of course, was it that article about WXYZ? or maybe that one about ABCD? I'd prefer to wait until there is a response from the Government instead of speculating. I think this is the first time something like this has happened to them.

For people in Qatar you can still keep up with them via their facebook and twitter feeds. As far as I can tell Doha News is continuing to post articles.

Whoever wanted to block the site was not aware of the Streisand Effect. By blocking Doha News it's become a big story in Qatar on social media. Some world media have also picked up the story, such as the BBC, Reuters, and Amnesty International, so I think it would be in the best interest of the Government to look into what happened and stop blocking the website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Vodafone and Ooredoo confirm Doha News is blocked in Qatar


Doha News
The heads of Qatar’s two telecom companies have confirmed that has been blocked inside the country.

In a statement to Doha News on Sunday, Ooredoo CEO Waleed Al-Sayed said:

“We can confirm that access to the Doha News website is currently restricted in Qatar, due to concerns raised regarding the licensing of your organization.

The two authorities best-placed to help you resolve this issue are the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.”
Vodafone CEO Ian Gray sent a separate statement echoing the confirmation, saying, “As you are aware, access to the Doha News website across the network of Vodafone Qatar Q.S.C is currently blocked.”

He continued:

“We kindly suggest that you make contact and liaise directly with the Ministry of Culture and also the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. We will be pleased to unblock access once the requirements of the relevant concerned parties have been met.”

Doha News was officially blocked in Qatar on Nov. 30, after operating for six years as a website without issue.

Initially, Qatar’s standard censored image popped up when users tried to access the site.

Now, however, the page only appears to look like it is having trouble loading.

News of the move quickly spread internationally last week, with several people criticizing authorities in Qatar for having double standards.

#حظر_موقع_دوحة_نيوز #Khartoon – Journalism is not a crime? @dohanews blocked in #Qatar #dohanews

— ود البيه (@khalidalbaih) December 3, 2016
Blocking of @dohanews site an 'alarming setback for freedom of expression in Qatar' @jpmlynch

— AmnestyInternational (@AmnestyOnline) December 1, 2016
@MOI_QatarEn The Ban on @dohanews is disgusting. Why is @dohanews subject to more censorship than @AJEnglish ? #notproudtobealthani

— Z A.K. Al-Thani (@chseuk) December 4, 2016
However, officials have told Doha News that the issue is not one of censorship, but of proper licensing as a media company in Qatar.

We will be speaking more with authorities this week to see what can be done to resolve the issue.