New media law for Qatar after Ramadan

Rebecca Hawkes ęRapidTVNews | 18-06-2012

Qatar is to enforce its first media law following the holy month of Ramadan, the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage said on Saturday (16 June).

Hamad bin Abdul Aziz Al Kuwari said the state cabinet will approve the proposed legislation at its first meeting after the month of fasting, according to Qatar News Agency.

"Qatar will be proud of its law which will be the first of its kind in the entire Arab world," the minister was quoted as saying.

The draft legislation has taken four years of study, and included briefings by many government bodies as well as journalists, and everyone is now keen to see it become law as soon as possible, said Al Kuwari ľ addressing the chairmen of the board of directors of youth centres.

"For the first time the Advisory Council discussed proposals from editors and took into consideration the opinion of the culture ministry as well," the minister said.

The law will abolish prison sentences for journalists, and should therefore live up to the expectations of the media, he added.

The draft law is reported to include 45 articles covering print, broadcast and electronic media in the Gulf state. Online journalism will not be subject to the censors under the new legislation, suggests The Peninsula newspaper.