Browsing 'censorship' News

European Parliament/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Any business operating in the field of “press and publications” in Qatar must have the necessary permits to do so, the Ministry of Culture and Sports has warned.

In an announcement printed in local newspapers today, the ministry’s Administration of Press and Publications said residents who have the following jobs must be licensed to “practice and perform these activities.”

They are:

“All working in the field of press and publications, including newspapers, magazines, and or any print or publication despite its circulation method, either on paper or electronically, publishing houses and distribution and all working in the field of publicity, advertising, public relations, artistic works and artistic/technical productions.”

Those who do not have licenses should contact the ministry to “adjust their situation,” the announcement added.

Announcement

Licensing spree

The ministry referred to decree No. 16 of 1993 on the organization of promotional activities, advertising and public relations as justification for its regulation of the market.

Authorities did not give a timeline for when people operating in these fields without permits should come forward.

It also did not outline any penalties for those who violate government requirements.

But the announcement comes about a month after officials suddenly blocked DohaNews.co in Qatar for apparently not having the appropriate licenses.

Home businesses

It also follows the Ministry of Economy and Commerce’s recent introduction of sweeping new requirements for home businesses.

The arena was previously fairly unregulated. But this has prompted health and safety concerns from some, especially with regards to food-related businesses.

Supplied

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Now, entrepreneurs who work from home are required to have commercial licenses. These can only be obtained after meeting a series of government requirements.

Some say this move and other new attempts at regulation seem at odds with officials’ desire to boost Qatar’s private sector, as it only adds bureaucracy to the process.

Thoughts?

DN

Doha News

DN

The heads of Qatar’s two telecom companies have confirmed that dohanews.co 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.”

Criticism

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.

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.

Thoughts?

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Stokpic.com

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

It’s been five days since authorities in Qatar blocked access to dohanews.co inside the country.

We’ve since come to understand that this was an intentional act, in part due to issues with our licensing.

We’re continuing to speak to officials this week to see how we can resolve the problem.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Roger H. Goun / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

At the same time, we reject the idea that our news website should be blocked over licensing concerns — this is a clear act of censorship, and a fairly unprecedented one in Qatar.

In the interest of protecting our team, we will be reducing the number of articles we publish until we can resolve the problem and get dohanews.co unblocked.

Many of you have expressed solidarity with us — a gesture we greatly appreciate. Others have asked how they can continue to read Doha News.

Here are some suggestions:

Our daily newsletter

The easiest way to get our news is to sign up for DN’s Daily Newsletter. They now contain all our articles in full and go out each day at 5pm Doha time.

If you’re not able to access the signup page, drop us a line on [email protected] and we’ll add you to the list.

Medium.com

We’ll be posting select articles on medium.com/dohanews.

iOS: Apple News

For Apple iOS device users, Apple News is a free app that comes bundled on the latest and updated devices.

If you can’t find it on your phone, you may have to set your location to the United States. Search for “Doha News” or “Qatar” and you’ll be able to subscribe to our updates.

Android: Google Play Newsstand

For Android device users, you’ll be able to read Doha News articles through the Google Play Newsstand App.

Click this link on your mobile device to subscribe , or search for Doha News in the app.

Mobile browser: Google AMP

Our articles are also available via Google’s new Accelerated Mobile Pages project.

Just search for “Doha News” in Google on a mobile device, and you should be able to read versions of our articles right in the search engine.

Tor (Browser) or VPN

Finally, The Tor project is free software that anonymizes internet use.
Similarly, Tor Browser is a web browser that uses the anonymous Tor network to allow people to access websites that may otherwise be blocked in their countries.

Alternatively, if you have access to a Virtual Private Network that resides outside Qatar, you should be able to access dohanews.co when logged in.

Thoughts?