New law: Arabic must be primary language on billboards

Despite the widespread use of English in Qatar, Arabic should be the main language used on billboards, according to new marketing regulations that have been signed into law by Qatar’s Emir.

“Foreign” languages can also be included on the sign, but as supplementary text.

Those who violate the law, which will be enforced by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Urban Planning, will have their advertisements removed “by force” and could face up to QR20,000 in fines.

The law, which caused a stir when the new Arabic requirement was discussed last year, replaces marketing stipulations set down some three decades ago in 1980.

It also requires that:

  • Content not cause any insult to Islam or any other religion, nor violate public morals and traditions;
  • Ads should not be present in places of worship, found on trees and plants or affixed to facilities of historic importance;
  • The design, size or color of the ad not be similar to traffic signs or other official signage;
  • Ads not hinder vehicle traffic or pedestrian movement; and
  • Signage does not negatively affect the aesthetic character of the area or appearance of the city

Read the full text here. Thoughts?

Photo by David Evers.

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