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Game of Thrones slow clap

Social media was abuzz with a new trending topic yesterday as residents and others reacted to a long list of orders given to Qatar by its neighbors amid an ongoing siege.

Many people are ridiculing the demands put forth by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

According to leaked documents, they include shuttering Al Jazeera, closing down Turkey’s new military base in Qatar and curbing ties with Iran.

Qatar has also been given 10 days to agree to compensate the boycotting nations an unspecified amount, stop funding certain political groups and submit to regular compliance audits for the next 10 years.

Qatar officials have acknowledged receipt of the list, and said it is preparing a response.

Its communications office hit out at the orders, saying they are not reasonable.

“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy,” said Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani in a statement.


Residents and Qatar supporters appear to agree.

Under the new hashtag #WeDemandQatar, users have been coming up with their own list of demands to highlight the presumed absurdity of the original conditions.

Not everyone is so amused, however.

Bloomberg reports the UAE’s state minister for foreign affairs as saying Qatar must take the demands seriously or face “divorce” from the Gulf.

In a series of tweets, Anwar Gargash said:

“The brother (Qatar) must realize that the solution for its crisis lies not in Tehran or Beirut or Ankara or Western capitals or in media outlets, but in regaining the trust of its neighbors.

It is not possible to accept that the brother continues as the Trojan horse” in the Gulf or as a funder and “platform for an extremist agenda.”



I Love Qatar message

Social media users around the world have been encouraged to pick sides this week amid an ongoing Gulf dispute.

Those who support Qatar have done so via a variety of hashtags, including #iloveqatar, #qatarisnotalone and #istandwithqatar.

Arabic speakers have also been using  (people of the Gulf reject cutting ties with Qatar) and   (I won’t participate in Gulf boycott).

Users in Kuwait have also started a hashtag , (Eid Al Fitr vacation in Qatar), to encourage Kuwaitis to support the country by visiting during the holidays.

Regional support

The outpouring of support came after a shock announcement on Monday that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE were severing diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar.

In a bid to compel the nation to fall into line with regional politics, the countries have closed their land, sea and air borders and ordered the exit of all Qatari nationals.

Andrew Leber, a graduate student at the Harvard Department of Government, has been studying the hashtag use.

He told Doha News that while usage of both of the supportive hashtags has “dropped off pretty heavily” in the past day, they had initially been embraced by people across the region.

“The two solidarity tags I mentioned were almost certainly coming from Twitter users in all six of the GCC countries,” he said.

Anti-Qatar messages

But over the past few days, both the UAE and Bahrain have made it a crime to express sympathy for Qatar online.

This has discouraged residents of those nations to continue posting anything supportive of Qatar, for fear or jail time or fines.


For illustrative purposes only.

When it comes to online detractors, there aren’t too many specific anti-Qatar hashtags, Leber said.

Most tweets against Qatar have been posted under  (cutting off ties with Qatar), a generic hashtag where people just share their views.

However, Leber added that he’s noticed hashtags in support of various countries’ rulers.

‘Buy local’

In Qatar, the Gulf crisis has created a swelling of nationalist support, amid expats and locals alike.

To show their solidarity, some people have been personalizing their Twitter profile pictures.

Community website ILoveQatar for example has created a Twibbon that people can add to their pictures, one of several options doing the rounds.

Residents and nationals have also been trying to encourage people to buy Qatari produce ().

The locally made products have become more important as Qatar seeks new food import sources.

New twitter accounts

As well as hashtags, a number of new Twitter accounts have also sprung up since the crisis began.

These include @IstandwithQatar, an account apparently being run by a group of young people from Qatar:

And then there’s the satirical handle @dohaunderseige, which pokes gentle fun at some expats’ response to the crisis:

Have you been following the online conversation? Thoughts?

DaveLawler / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s Emir has approved new legislation that metes out jail time and fines for those caught taking, recording or sharing photos and videos of accident victims.

Law No. 4 of 2017 amends some provisions of the Penal Code with regards to breaching someone’s privacy without their consent.

It increases the penalty for breaking the law from one year to up to two years in jail. It also doubles the potential fine to up to QR10,000.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Article 333 previously pertained to offenses such as opening someone’s correspondence, eavesdropping on phone calls and recording or transmitting private conversations.

But according to the Gulf Times, it now also includes two more provisions:

“Taking or transmitting photographs or video clips of accident victims using any kind of device – unless legally permitted – and taking or transmitting photographs or video clips of an individual or group of individuals in a public place through any device with the aim of using these for abuse or defamation.”

High-profile cases

The Cabinet has been discussing amendments to the penal code for at least two years.

In September 2015, it approved legislation that explicitly criminalized taking photos of the deceased or injured without permission.

Such images are considered “human and moral” defamation and go against “social and religious” values, attorney Mohammad Al Hagri was quoted as saying earlier that year.

Abdulla Almesleh/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The draft legislation was recently revived, even though residents who take such photos or video can already be punished under Qatar’s privacy and cybercrime laws.

These laws apparently came into play during two high-profile incidents in 2015.

In October of that year, a person was arrested for sharing dramatic footage of a deadly traffic accident that involved two teens and a sewage tanker.

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Accident scene

And a month later, two people were arrested for posting a video of a young man smashing into a Rolls Royce at the Sheraton Grand Doha hotel.

However, it remains unclear what those involved were charged with or what penalties they faced.