Writings and multimedia from a journalist based in the Middle East.
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Instead of supporting press freedom, [Qatar’s] draft media law is a commitment to censorship.
US-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the law “builds in a double standard on free expression” inconsistent with the Qatari government’s moves toward media freedom, including establishing the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, setting up a branch campus of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and funding international news network Al Jazeera.
Specifically, the organization highlights vague wording in the draft bill that bars critical reporting on Arab and friendly countries, and would penalized news outlets for running anything that could be deemed offensive to Qatar’s ruling family or damaging to national interests.
HRW is also calling for the government to drop charges against Qatari poet Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, who has been imprisoned since last November for allegedly criticizing the Emir.