The new media law has gotten a lukewarm reception in the journalism community.
It is an improvement over the previous one, which dates back to 1979, in that journalists cannot be held without a court order for their reporting.
That said, the draft contains some points that journalist have found less desirable elements, including a requirement that all foreign journalists have degrees in mass communications.
The Peninsula reports:
The authority to licence and monitor the media is likely to be vested with the Ministry of Arts, Heritage and Culture, which some media analysts see as an attempt to revive the pre-1995 censorship era…
According to the draft, journalists would have the right to defend their sources but if a court so orders they would be obliged to reveal the identity of their sources.
There would be no censorship on the media and the culture ministry would have two wings, one to license and monitor the print media, the other to license and supervise the electronic media.
The culture ministry would ‘supervise’ the hiring of Qatari scribes while foreign journalists would be accredited by a committee at the ministry.
As always, tell us what you think! Is this new law a step in the right direction?