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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Qatar police monitor, arrest and detain BBC journalist (updated)

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Updated at 12:20pm to include comments from Qatar’s Government Communications Office.

For at least the second time this year, a foreign journalist reporting in Qatar has been arrested and detained by police after visiting the Industrial Area to investigate the living conditions of migrant workers here.

Mark Lobel, a BBC journalist based in Dubai, was one of roughly a dozen international reporters and photographers invited by the Ministry of Labor to visit several worker accommodation developments in Qatar earlier this month.

Mark Lobel
Mark Lobel

Speaking to Doha News, Lobel said he was pulled over while driving and arrested shortly after 4pm on Saturday, May 2 and then held by officers from Qatar’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID) until 4am on Monday, May 4.

He said he was then placed under a travel ban and prevented from leaving the country until Sunday, May 10. However, the crew’s equipment and hard drives have still not been returned.

Following news of his arrest, the Qatar government accused Lobel of breaking the law by trespassing on private property.

Lobel’s detention is similar to what happened to German broadcast journalist Florian Bauer, who was arrested and detained by Qatar police in late March. After Bauer made his case public more than a month later, local authorities noted that he had been filming without a permit.

Bauer admitted that he did not have official permission to film, despite submitting multiple requests in the weeks leading up to his visit. However, he also said that the police never asked him if he possessed a permit as they were arresting him.

What happened

Lobel arrived in Qatar several days before the start of the official media tour, which was led by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs as well as the recently created Government Communications Office.

Hamad International Airport
Hamad International Airport

He added that he was followed by the authorities from the moment he cleared immigration at Hamad International Airport, based on surveillance photographs that were later shown to him.

The reporter said that on May 2, he was arrested with his driver, a camera operator visiting Qatar and an expat journalist based in Qatar after eight white vehicles surrounded their car and forced them onto a side road.

After being held for nearly 36 hours, the journalists were released. However, the police continued their investigation by bringing in at least one locally-based journalist in Qatar for questioning, who said they were accused of “defaming the country.”

Wrong visa

In a report published in the BBC today, Lobel said authorities did not initially accuse him or his crew of anything directly, but instead “asked over and over what we had done and who we had met.”

However, he was later told at the public prosecutor’s office that he was working outside the parameters of the tourist visa on which he had entered Qatar.

“I explained there was no other visa you can get,” he told Doha News, noting that he had followed the instructions of the government officials who organized the media tour for entering the company.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

That included providing his passport details, which is how he suspects he was flagged as he entered the country.

“This was not a sneaky trip. The only reason we were there was because we were invited.”

According to the locally based expat journalist who was brought in for questioning following Lobel’s release, other reporters on the government’s media tour also entered on tourist visas.

However, Qatar’s Government Communications Office did not raise the visa issue in a statement explaining the detention.

“The problems that the BBC reporter and his crew experienced could have been avoided if they had chosen to join the other journalists on the press tour,” said Saif Al-Thani, the head of Government Communications Office.

“By trespassing on private property and running afoul of Qatari laws, the BBC reporter made himself the story … We deeply regret that he was unable to report the real story, which is that the government and the private sector are making significant progress in efforts to improve the lives and the labour conditions of guest workers in Qatar.”

Media freedom questions

Speaking to Doha News on condition of anonymity, the foreign journalist based in Qatar added that the detentions of Lobel and Bauer show how it’s effectively impossible for a foreign reporter to work in Qatar while following the letter of the law.

Technically, foreign correspondents are supposed to register with Qatar News Agency and be hosted by a local organization, such as the country’s World Cup organizers.

The host pledges to be responsible for the journalist’s behavior, as well as how all the material they produce is used going forward.

The latter clause runs counter to the principles of journalistic independence and is impossible to comply with in practice, the locally-based source said.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Meanwhile, a filming permit is only given to foreign journalists for very specific and narrowly defined shoots, which would make it effectively impossible for an unaccompanied reporter to, for example, explore the Industrial Area with a camera, the journalist added.

“It’s clear that the government has little interest in allowing any press freedom (regarding) the labor issue, or any other globally relevant issue around Qatar unless it suits their interest.”

However, the country’s senior government leaders have a different message. Speaking to the Lobel after his detention, Abdullah Saleh Al Khulaifi – Qatar’s minister of labor and social affairs – said:

“Qatar is an open country forever, since ever … The shortcomings that I am facing, the problems I am facing, I cannot hide. Qatar is open and now with the smartphones, everyone is a journalist.”

Lobel also reported that FIFA is investigating the incident and told him that any “apparent restriction of press freedom is of concern.”

Lobel’s arrest, like the detention of Bauer earlier this year, will likely draw fresh international condemnation from rights advocates at a time when Qatar is actively working to improve the country’s image with the help of British public relations firm Portland Communications.

Thoughts?

138 COMMENTS

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Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago

““Qatar is an open country forever, since ever … The shortcomings that I am facing, the problems I am facing, I cannot hide. Qatar is open and now with the smartphones, everyone is a journalist.” I have no idea what that means…

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

If everybody who has a smart phone is a journalist, then everybody can be arrested as the examples of the German and the British journalists show. To be safe, don’t use a smart phone.

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago

What will I do whilst driving my LC and tailgating?

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago

It means nothing, it’s just a lie.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Qatar believes it has something to hide and acts like North Korea in its detention and oppression of journalists. It’s shows the lack of media expertise in the government. Rule by fear, rather than wise choices.

Yes
Yes
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

No, Qatar has laws which you have to abide.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Yes

Which even the Qatari government officials themselves seem to be confused about. 😉

Yes
Yes
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

There is no confusing in getting license as journalists.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Yes

Ah, but there is confusion about what said license allows you to do – as even the article says. It seems like the police in this issue are poorly trained.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Yes

If Qatar passed a law saying all Indians have to set themselves on fire, do you consider that a law which they all have to abide?
They invite him to come to Qatar as they are an open country so they say, he decides to come a few days early and they arrest him! You couldn’t make it up.

Yes
Yes
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

MIMH, this is the point when no one is bothered to argue with you. “If Qatar passed a law saying all Indians have to set themselves on fire”. My 6 year old daughter can come up with better counter arguments, but I guess this is a message that you are not interested in discussions and your point is what should be seen by everyone. My point is, the law is the law. You go to North Korea or you go to the UK, you respect the law wherever you are. Yes our laws are different than where you come from, different is not wrong FACT, but not to you cause you have an OPINION.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Yes

The bit I don’t get is Qatar invites journalists to come to Qatar and then gets surprised when they start reporting on different things. If you invite a lion into your house, expect to get eaten eventually. Anything else is either naive or stupid.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I’d say “stupid”.

Skippy1111
Skippy1111
5 years ago
Reply to  Yes

” the law is the law’ isnt quite the point, or true. First, the BBC journo was detained & held for 2 days and all of his equipment seized, and still held. only after news of his being detained did the Qatar government state that he had been arrested for trespassing on private property.
That in itself is an allegation; it may indeed be against the law to be trespassing but we have no evidence either way that this occurred until it is brought before a court. Like the german crew, this won’t happen as the BBC people will be deported or forced to leave the country – that’s not judicial procedure, it’s bypassing any pretence to follow the law, and could happen to anyone in Qatar at any time.

Second, this is Qatar where the law isnt the law as it is not applied fairly & equally to all. The Villagio fire springs to mind, the sponsors of the indonesian maid who was abused & assaulted recently have escaped the law by her being detained & deported and when was the last time you witnessed a Qatari being pulled over for a flagrant violation of traffic laws?

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

he came early and tried to circumvent the rules and got arrested. was he naive?

Ben
Ben
5 years ago

FIFA say they will investigate this. Nothing will happen off course but Qatar now putting itself back in the spotlight completely unnecessarily.
I’m in London (waiting to fly back to Qatar) and it’s all over the news here.
A massive public relations own goal!

Scarletti
Scarletti
5 years ago
Reply to  Ben

the only kind of goal Qatar will score before the World Cup ?

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

And in the World Cup itself – the weakest team ever to be in the finals.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Simon

Everybody said that in the handball tournament and then they ended up in the finals.

Christopher Lavelle
Christopher Lavelle
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Yeah handball and football are the same……..Maybe they will just convince a few superstars in football to take Qatar passports for the world cup. I can see it now, Khalifa al Baggio, Jassim Al Ronaldo, Mohammad al Zidane. Haha

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago

you mean like how the French did?

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago

Sooner or later the World Cup in Qatar will be called the “Blood, Sweat, and Tears World Cup”.

truth.e.ness
truth.e.ness
5 years ago

Another day, another story, another yawn. I wish corruption was not embraced by FIFA, I wish these stories resulted in action, I wish good journalism like this report from ESPN E:60 would make a difference.

http://www.espnfc.com/fifa-world-cup/4/blog/post/2448567/sepp-blatter-and-fifa-e60-reports-with-jeremy-schaap

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
5 years ago

The more journalists arrested, the more journalists will arrive in Qatar to get the scoop. Probably better for the government to allow the journalists in and report on the labour abuses. From the reports, the government can go after the companies that put Qatar in a bad light which would show them as being somewhat proactive rather than the same old story of hide, deny, hide, deny, hide, deny…

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
5 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

Well really it’s beating the UK at it’s own game, if you go to the UK under certain conditions, ie. visiting and while there do something other than visiting, such as working or taking a course, you too will be gone. It’s also a bit naive to argue about the poor BBC journalist, this is part of the job, and getting arrested and making shock headlines is good for business, and would easily have been considered as acceptable or even desired risk on behalf of the group. As for freedom of speech, the irony never seems to be lost on DN commenters who spout opinion as fact or examples as correlation, that they engage in freedoms of speech on this site, to which we can conclude, they either don’t realise it, or F of S is actually allowed, or finally that DN is monitored. F of S isn’t legally protected as people think it is; you don’t have the right to speak your mind without accountability to the results; and further you’re not protected from libel, so saying something like X car company is unsafe because their brakes failed, or X travel company is a rip off, all not protected

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Of course DN is monitored by the authorities, it would be niave to think anything else.

Bob
Bob
5 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Where can you cite stories about journalists visiting the UK being “gone”?

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
5 years ago
Reply to  Bob

Probably from the same source that produces reports on immigration violations.

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

out of the dozen invited only one gets arrested.

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

There is an important quote that I believe a lot of people have missed. I think its good to go back and read the article more than once to fully grasp the story well.

What is your comment/opinion on the following Fact?

“The problems that the BBC reporter and his crew experienced could have been avoided if they had chosen to join the other journalists on the press tour,” said Saif Al-Thani, the head of Government Communications Office.

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago

A government organised press tour….really going to get the facts on that one!

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago

Are you kidding me? Press tour? What is it a high school trip?
hahahaha

Roza,

You think a lot of people have missed that? looool?? I think you are missing on life in general!

Coco
Coco
5 years ago

I’m still surprised DN is operating. You guys must have “proper wasta” 🙂

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Coco

They are doing things in very subtle and intelligent way that any attempt to ban them will backfire. I think that, as long as they are reporting on things mentioned elsewhere rather than starting them themselves, they should be fine.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

And the website itself it outside of Qatar, only the DN crew is subject to Qatar law. No matter what happens to them, the website can continue.

Coco
Coco
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

That’s just mean! 🙂

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Coco

Was not in any way meant to be mean – just an observation. Just saying that the service that DN provides is not completely dependent on the staff being free.

all seeing
all seeing
5 years ago

hiding something? we know how these other expats are treated here as it has been before “modern Slavery”. the govt just dont want their business to be ruined by these things. its common. Compare to UAE, Qatar is left behind long long road to catch in terms of protecting the workers. (sigh)

ngourlay
ngourlay
5 years ago

Open country for forever. Heh.

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

“Qatar is an open country forever, since ever … ” Almost the exact words used by Kim-Jing Un when describing North Korea.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

You mean the Peoples Democratic Republic of Korea, which is neither for the people of democratic.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago

It does seem like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand of the government is doing. As the BBC article said:

“So why does Qatar welcome members of the international media while at the same time imprisoning them? Is it a case of the left arm not knowing what the right arm is doing, or is it an internal struggle for control between modernisers and conservatives?”

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

I guess there’s absolutely no chance of getting independent journalism in Qatar. What do you say DN?

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

I’d say we’ve proved that theory wrong time and time again.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

hypothesis! 😉

Coco
Coco
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

I’d say that unless you start printing you can’t make that claim. What I’m saying is, I do hope you start releasing hard copies. I’m old school, I can’t take anything serious if it’s easily “updated” and/or deleted. 🙂

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Coco

I think you should update your habits and adapt to technology. We are not going to stop technology and stick to 1990s methods to please old-school people.

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Well perhaps step out of the 1700s and stop slavery whilst your preaching about updating your habits.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Deleting for personal attack.

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  Coco

Really your comment is superb! Thank you very much for your logic. I believe this website is just a collection website for all people who believe everyone in the world should live and abide by western ideologies.

mongke
mongke
5 years ago

I find Coco’s comment pretty strange as well, as there are major news sites around the world that are based on a digital platform only… but what does that have anything to do with ‘Western Ideologies’? Curious to know what you mean by that… I meant besides the obvious of course. Just regarding his personal preferences to hard copies…

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  mongke

You find it strange, I find it very smart and to the point. I have a question for you, please define freedom of speech and please let me know own reason why I should also believe in the same definition and live and abide by it.

mongke
mongke
5 years ago

Roza. I admire your questions as they are truly proper questions for a proper discussion. Also, you don’t need to abide by anything that doesn’t feel right to you. That said…

My personal F of S definition is: The ability to speak about the problems, mistakes and ills taking place in a certain society and/or community to be discussed at least and hopefully improved.

I get the notion that people use freedom of speech negatively however it is also a prized human value to be able to highlight the problems in a bid to find a solution and fix them. This applies to all levels: societal level, personal level and etc…

This proper use of F of S isn’t applied in the West, East nor Middle Earth… so it really has nothing to do with where you or I come from… but we cannot forsake this privilege and must be responsible by using it to highlight the issues we face and hope to work together to solve them.

Cheers 🙂

P.S. you give a lot of undeserved credit to Coco’s comment 🙂
P.S.S you haven’t answered my earlier question. But it’s okay too 🙂

Yummykarak
Yummykarak
5 years ago
Reply to  mongke

That was a very well spoken (worded) response!

mongke
mongke
5 years ago
Reply to  Yummykarak

Thank you YummyKarak. Karak is very yummy too 🙂

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  mongke

Thank you for your response.

Thank you for your definition I hope you you live in a bubble where such is practised if not, I hope you find one that does. You should also share with us a diary of when you find such place it will go viral trust me, the hunt for F of S is beyond the oceans combined.

Lastly, since you mention it, the proper use of F of S is up us in the end, we chose how to define it and we chose how to practise it. No one can tell a nation how they should practise it, you can voice it but you can’t condemn it.

Also, I would like to let you know one thing, the journalist or should I say “poor journalist of BBC, may God grant them all the justice in the world” (sarcasm intended) came to Qatar with an approval to do project X. They have decided they wanted to take a risk and do Project X with Project Y (in which Y had no permit/no approval). So why should I NOT arrest these journalist? They didn’t do as they are were told they disrespected the rules. Those that disrespect rules should be punished – logical equation. Most of the comments above are not even realising this fact and not even interested to know and are just fighting something superficial called “F of S of America Land”

Oh sorry F of S is now the new holy glare? All raise.

mongke
mongke
5 years ago

Okay, wow. I thought this was going to be some sort of neutral healthy discussion. My bad, I apologize. I am sorry if I have offended you in some sort of way. No need to waste energy on the likes of me.

By the way, I never mentioned the BBC journalist in my previous comment so I am not sure why you brought it up. I also, did not dictate how any country should conduct F of S. I also, did not mention America. I am not even American. But I DID mention: F of S is not applied properly anywhere (West, East or even Middle Earth) so your reply can only suggest you didn’t read my comment thoroughly.

To be clear, this is not me cyber bullying or anything. Just a reply that doesn’t mean harm to anyone.

Good day Roza. Hope we meet again in better circumstances.

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  mongke

P.S. you give a lot of undeserved credit to Coco’s credit 🙂 <—– if I was Coco how would I feel about this? "doesn't mean harm to anyone" really? Maybe you should also watch what you say this isn't a platform of F of S.

Have a good day to you too.

Coco
Coco
5 years ago

Coco’s just fine and doesn’t take it to heart. What coco’s afraid of is how the correlation was made between freedom of speech and my desire to see hard copies properly documented and researched. Freedom of speech gives everyone the right to offend me and gives me the right for a rebuttal. I would actually feel offended if people didn’t even speak their mind in an online environment trying to avoid offense. 🙂

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  Coco

hahahahahaha wasn’t me. I just liked your comment and got attacked. F of e-weapons maybe thats what they are practising?

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
5 years ago

Holy grail.

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  mongke

Also your “P.S” is your own opinion and thank you for sharing it – are you practising F of S here? or this is cyber bullying?

mongke
mongke
5 years ago

No. I apologize. You misunderstood me. It is a frank and honest observation.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

I don’t think it has anything to do with western ideologies whatever that is, it is to do with respect for human rights and the right to have the freedom of choice.

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Who defines this? America land?

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Who would not want freedom of choice? Freedom of religion? Freedom to voice your opinion? Freedom of movement? Freedom from fear and oppression? Freedom from religion?

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Define freedom of speech, this is all I am asking. Thank you.

Yousef
Yousef
5 years ago

to SAY what you want
to SAY it when you want
and to SAY it with OUT your hand being cuffed in taken to a small room for questioning !!

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  Yousef

In your own house, when you come to mine please respect my house rules otherwise; maybe don’t come over again. That’s the logic of the story.

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  Yousef

you have the right to do that in the confines of your house or maybe in jail.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago

Qatar has signed a number of UN conventions. All of them include “definitions” sections. Those are published in all official UN languages, including Arabic, and they are available for everyone to read.

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

They sign but don’t abide.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

It is the freedom of expression in anything you like except if you are inciting other to commit acts of violence or murder. If someone is offended by something you say, that is not a justification of suspending freedom of speech. i.e. drawing cartoons of Mohd may make you disrespectful and an idiot but is not illegal and should certainly not be made illegal.

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

and who is stopping from expressing? Express in your own cage you make the rules – but when you come to my house I make the rules for your to express if you don’t like it then I’m sorry maybe don’t accept my invite next time?

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

If I’m a poor Sri Lankan that doesn’t like it here anymore I can’t leave and the police arrest me. All I want to do is go home. Why do you deny me the basic human right of freedom of movement? What right do you have to deny me my Liberty? You invited me to your house and then you treat me like an animal.

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

OK listen NOW you are speaking about a completely different topic. Also, from the sounds of what you are writing, I think you are writing for the sake of writing and bringing anything to the table. Therefore, I apologies your comments/replies will not be answered by me so maybe you should stop responding.

Huzz
Huzz
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Let me answer that for you…….Roza.

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Ahhh…lets see the Al Thani clan of Qatar.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Deleting for attack.

Yousef
Yousef
5 years ago

The WOLD defined this Roza ..its call the UN and HUMAN RIGHTS.

NOT

the rights of ONE self made VERY RICH family that HIDES its self

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  Yousef

Thank you for your definition, so freedom of speech is now also access to money?

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  Yousef

UN and human Rights – wow what a combination.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
5 years ago

Hey back off. The Brits have their own brand of definitions also. Please define what you mean by ‘western’ ideologies. Are they very different from ‘eastern ‘ ideologies which are probably all the same cos their ‘eastern’?

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

First of all can you let me know if you are practising F of S by telling me to back off? Is this your definition maybe the ability to speak in this way and not have me feel offended maybe thats your definition of F of S to me firstly you are being disrespectful which is what these journalists did to get what they have received. Simple read the The problems that the BBC reporter and his crew experienced could have been avoided if they had chosen to join the other journalists on the press tour,” said Saif Al-Thani, the head of Government Communications Office.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
5 years ago

Touché. We are feeling sensitive tonight.

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

Nothing sensitive, headline readers annoy me sometimes 🙂

Simon
Simon
5 years ago

Yes, we are westerners, but No, we are not trying to impose our ideologies – we are simply judging Qatar by its own, published criteria – it wants to be ‘an advanced nation’ in 15 years time.

As such, so much of what we see / hear / experience every single day is a million miles from what Qatar says it aspires to be. Hence we comment (in just the same way that we comment on the shortcomings / hypocrisies / ineptitude that we see in our own countries).

Maybe time to change your government.

Oh, hang on ……….

Coco
Coco
5 years ago
Reply to  Coco

I’ll reply to myself as it seems my comment was bent or I wasn’t clear enough. The reason I was trying to promote print copies is in fact a very simple one: It encourages people to regard this as a real newspaper and its employees as actual journalists that assume liability for their news. It can always be supported by online as well but hard copies have a way of not being mistaken for a bunch of teens and trolls scrolling the net trying to flame. At the moment it’s a collective blog that presents facts without drastically bending them…but at the same time, based more on public opinion and information correlated with a deeply subjective approach in trying to highlight general issues.

To me it seems like someone took a decision to have a necessary “lesser evil” present in Qatar attempting to dodge the responsibility of free press. It’s like abiding by the Law and hiring a cheap nurse with questionable qualifications in order to dump responsibility.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

So, when are you sending your reporters into the labor camps? Or is it too sensitive?

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Don’t you know that #JournalismIsNotACrime a crime in Qatar, except when you report on something they don’t like and then they arrest you.

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Hello there Shabina, Please define your definition of independent journalism. I appreciate your definition, however; would like to follow up Q – who told you it should be practised this way everywhere?

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago

Our definition is the ability to report without interference – from government authorities, businesses or otherwise. We have enjoyed this freedom for years in Qatar and are grateful for it.

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

In Qatar we want to interfere sometimes – do you see this as a problem? Me I see it as a precaution for the better and I see it as something that is much needed. I don’t understand all this fuss. If this is what you believe and want to practise and this is how you want to do journalism, then maybe Qatar is not the right place for you right?

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago

According to Qatar’s national vision, we are helping the country by increasing transparency and accountability. Proud to be part of that 🙂

mongke
mongke
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Yours is a valuable media community Shabina 🙂

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Proud you are part of that also but it seems like its not working out so maybe plan B is better? Also, small steps to big ones – really sometimes the way you report things here is just crazy but maybe we should have coffee sometime and I can explain to you what I mean.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago

Would love to meet up. Please ping me, editor@dohanews.co (not com). Also, do note that Qatar-backed Al Jazeera (which frequently reports in countries without permits, etc) sums it up quite nicely: #JournalismIsNotACrime

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Trial & Error just like potty training 😉 hahaha alright I shall PING You!

whatgoesaroundcomesaround
whatgoesaroundcomesaround
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Don’t you think your comments with your new date is a getting the thread ‘off track’ and therefor should be deleted? Or it’s a different case when you’re in the equation?

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago

Media freedom is certainly pertinent to this article, no?

Yummykarak
Yummykarak
5 years ago

I really don’t find their reporting that crazy or shock-factoring…It’s just news.
I don’t see why they are not working out? As a citizen I am very interested in reading such stories and seeing the various opinions on my country. I may not agree but it’s refreshing to see new ideas and tones sometimes. (I’ll admit I can get thrown back by some of the demeaning/derogatory comments but I’d hate to see DN go).

Huzz
Huzz
5 years ago
Reply to  Yummykarak

I agree with YK here on this one. Sometimes the abuse thrown back and forth between the different sides is a bit excessive but DN is a little like the UN of Qatar. We have our own talking shop at least.

Yousef
Yousef
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

When you have something to HIDE you wear a black BURKA…ALL Of QATAR wears a BLACK BURKA…they are not open, they are corrupt and they are trying to HIDE it from the rest of the world.
Too late with the internet word is out and I am helping spread it !!

Huzz
Huzz
5 years ago

This would be for Shabina to decide really.

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago

Roza,

The thing with you and those who think like you, is that you were raised in a certain way that permits you to think that your way of living is the way of living that others should adopt. The majority of educated people would not agree with how you perceive life to be. Your judgement and ideas are a function of who you are and how you were raised and most of us respect that.

You do not understand all the fuss because you simply can’t and I am not being mean. Your mind was not trained to accept logic as others perceive logic to be. It is not about Qatar being the right place or not. Qatar, itself WANTS to be the right place, but simply does not know how to.

Qatar accepted journalists to come and conduct their journalism. Journalism knows no rules or boundaries and is mostly interested in things that Qatar is not interested in showing. But this is journalism!…You can’t accept journalism but set the rules for it, otherwise it stops being journalism.

AT
AT
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

I agree Ms. Shabina….

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Well said Shabina, agree entirely, the one bright journalistic light in Qatar

mR.digital
mR.digital
5 years ago

In my language there is a saying ( when you try to hide something, its probably dirty)

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago

Before you even begin to question the definition or practise of “Freedom of Speech” you should also not there will never be the same definition of “F of S” anywhere in the world. This “western” definition you have been accustomed to “believe” maybe this country is not a home for you? Maybe you should leave back to where “F of S” is practised in the way you want it to be practised. Nonetheless, thank you for your time in Qatar, your home over there is awaiting your arrival – where “F of S” is the least of your worries :).

With regards to the article, I have a question, did anyone question this? The journalist had one permit to do project x yet; their arrest came after the crew decided to do project x + y – and believe me their “critical” “risky” move was intentional to make a story because literally there is no story to tell.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

So you like to be told what to think and what to say by others? No inpendent mind to share your thoughts? Just curious.

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I don’t see any correlation.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

No he just believes that journalists should only cover x if they are told to cover x even if y is hitting them in the face they must ignore it because it’s not in their job spec.

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

Please define the Non-western definition of “freedom of speech” because we westerners are obviously very confused

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

The western definition is exactly what you read all over these comments, of which half the audience that “wrote them” have never practised them or even sometimes dared to – just because we read a definition online or on the news doesn’t mean its the working definition. Just because someone thought they were practising F of S went to jail doesn’t mean he didn’t have the right to practise F of S he did it in his own way which is not the right way.

The definition of F os S is different for me its different for you – I practise my own F of S in my own surroundings. When I go abroad I have to amend it to respect others and their beliefs and most importantly their definition. Why should I follow your definition? What applies to you as F of S – for example, being able to express your views about the Gov. – I see the after math I don’t see the first step of being “able to” I see what can happen beyond just “speaking” or “expressing” “domino effect”

AT
AT
5 years ago

my thoughts exactly!

AT
AT
5 years ago

So funny to see British journalists coming here to this quiet small country for a scoop!!! that itself sounds ironical…i mean you have drunk teenagers abducted, tortured all over in UK…you have people running away to join ISIS and you have cross-dressers, transgender and all other exotic type of people there….and yet you choose to come to Industrial area ..where unskilled workers..live..fabricate a story of much exaggeration & human suffering & plight..and then put it all over Daily Mail…right next to pictures of Britons eating out of bins and living on streets and homeless people high on drugs and single moms who kill children with the help of crazy boyfriends…I mean… ridiculously hilarious, you Brit journalist! ..by the way I am not a Qatari, or GCC national…

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  AT

What’s ironic is that you think the British journalists don’t cover edgy stories in the UK, but then mention a bunch of issues from the UK that have been covered ad nauseum by the UK press.

Additionally, they came to Qatar because the Qatari government sent them an invite and said ‘come and take a look at our country’.

mongke
mongke
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

hahaha well said Andrew..

AT
AT
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Oh yea sure, we believe you….not…having lived in middle east for over 30 years now…we all know how people from all over UK are coming to middle east recently to make big money, tax free money in a short time… it is true that asians have done it before and over these past years… but it gets really ridiculous to see that just lately there is so much of backlash toward ‘harsh’ treatment by GCC nationals…and wanting to retaliate against the rules of the country etc… tell you what..as i said before..having lived in GCC over 30 years…really nothing has changed…. so really the Brits and the Scots and the whites or in general the ‘newbies’ are just complaining on every other issue…. these countries have hosted games before; oh yet 2022 is a big scandal…these countries have had unskilled workers for as long as these countries exist..yet NOW it is a scandal…every other thing is a scandal… then please go back to where you come from..because I don’t recall any officer at Qatar immigration begging you to come live in their country…you are free to go if you feel so fed up with all this ‘cruelty’ around you…i mean even i wouldn’t exactly want to go live among all the homelessness and poverty in UK and….should I choose to go there..out of my own free will…. i will certainly not go on Daily Mail and complain about this homelessness & poverty that I was already aware of…before i traveled..but if you were abducted without your knowledge and just dropped into this country from the sky against your will, then i apologize that you feel there are ‘violations’ all over…and we will help you get back to wherever you are from…

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  AT

I think the Qatari establishment would take great exception to your comment that “nothing has changed” here with regard to the treatment of workers. We read all the time in the paper about how much the situation has improved.

In an interview with CNN about the exit permit system that requires expats to seek their employers’ permission before leaving the country, the Emir said “we changed those laws” and also said “there are many laws that have been changed” and that the situation for laborers in Qatar has already improved.

But yet you disagree? “really nothing has changed”? Who to believe?

AT
AT
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

i said i lived here for 30 years and nothing has changed in the way this country handles workers (skilled or unskilled) ….YET….there are more complaints now from …Journalists …so you decide…what ‘really’ has changed…’exit permit’ system is not applicable in some GCC countries..that doesn’t mean anything..u get exit or not..you live in the same conditions, right… when these poorly educated workers are suddenly thrust with microphones or smart phone cameras..who knows they are not simply vocalizing scripted lines….don’t be naive…everywhere in the world there are even disgusting living conditions and maybe even more in some asian countries…whereas that is nothing compared to Qatar….yet all i am saying is this is too much publicity for no real reason…. i mean can Mr. Lobel & Mr. Bauer do this on Mexican drug cartel and the way they rule their territories & hope to come out alive? can these journalists go to India to red-light districts and hope to come out in one-piece to tell their story?– the answer we all know is a big NO…
even here qatari CIDs have not acted ‘inhuman’ and just confiscated their gear…I dare Mr. Lobel & Mr. Bauer to go to a country like Saudi Arabia and do such a documentary..because there too Mr. Andrew are many unskilled workers with the same ‘plight’…

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  AT

I’m still not sure I understand your point.

The country of Qatar, indeed the Prime Minister’s own office INVITED the BBC journalists to come here. They were asked to come and report on the story, which is what they did. They accepted the invitation that was extended to them by the State of Qatar to visit the country and report on labor conditions. It’s not as if they were trying to sneak in here and rock the boat, and make a clandestine report on a sensitive issue, the Qatari government asked them if they wanted to make a documentary.

If you don’t think they should be reporting on the story, that’s your own opinion, but don’t blame the BBC reporters for coming, blame the people who invited them.

Huzz
Huzz
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Andrew, I don’t think that AT understands what has happened.

Roza Al-Moosafri
Roza Al-Moosafri
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

One quote for you, “The problems that the BBC reporter and his crew experienced could have been avoided if they had chosen to join the other journalists on the press tour,” said Saif Al-Thani, the head of Government Communications Office.

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago

And that would have been a real tour of the truth…..

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Ignore him. I think he’s trollling.

Huzz
Huzz
5 years ago
Reply to  AT

Have you ever been to the UK? It does not sound like it if you have.

Huzz
Huzz
5 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

And just for the record, I was asked to come here.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
5 years ago
Reply to  AT

to be transgender is not a crime first of all…..however, if you host a WC this is common practice that journalists write and report about the hosting country; this does not happens only to Qatar. It was the same with Brazil and with South Africa and all the other previous countries hosting the WC. Otherwise, don’t host the games or fix what needs to be fixed!

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago
Reply to  AT

Just very badly informed ?

Scarletti
Scarletti
5 years ago

this has re-ignited the blue touch paper – qatar doesnt know when to change its attitude, and will continue to taunt retalliation and exposure with actions like this …. when will the penny drop ? pledge change, change and been seen to change – control change or it will be forced upon you

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-32775563

Skippy1111
Skippy1111
5 years ago

” # journalism is not a crime ”
Now that’s irony..
Qatar’s own al jazeera ignored the laws of Egypt in not getting permits to broadcast in Egypt and it’s staff paid te price.
Qatar made a massive effort in getting AJ journalists freed with the aforementioned campaign, journalism is not a crime..

I think we need to change the slogan to journalism is not a crime…unless it’s practised in Qatar..

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Skippy1111

Shsshhhh, don’t mention the hypocrisy and the fact British journalist also campaigned on behalf of the Al Jazeera journalists to get them released. Qatar should have released a statement saying our journalist broke the law of Egypt and have to suffer the consequences, even though we do not agree with the law you have to abide with it.

Christopher Lavelle
Christopher Lavelle
5 years ago

How dare anyone support these journalists trying to shed light to improve the lives of others, they should have had the permits and permission. Just like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Frederick Douglas, Christabel Pankhurst, Harvey Milk………they all had the correct documentation before they spoke out and improved the lives of others.

AnonymityBreedsContempt
AnonymityBreedsContempt
5 years ago

Aren’t there already many, many photos of the industrial area and living quarters?

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago

Whew, quite a discussion! Closing the thread now.