Qatar Political Orientation
Government Type: Emirate/Constitutional Monarchy (see Constitution)
Head of State and Government: The rule of the State is hereditary in the family of Al Thani and in the line of the male descendants of Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Bin Abdullah Bin Jassim. The current Emir is Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.
Political Party: Political parties are forbidden
Political Position: Center-Right
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 40.14 – Limited Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank: Qatar 105/180
In 2023, Reporters Without Borders ranked Qatar 105/180 in their Press Freedom Index, stating that “covering domestic political issues remains a real challenge for journalists.”
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
Media Outlets in Qatar are generally owned by the government. For example, Qatar Media Corporation is a public service broadcasting network that runs several television and radio networks, including Qatar TV (QTV) and Qatar radio stations. The government also runs the Qatar News Agency.
Qatar’s largest television network Al-Jazeera is privately held and funded in part by the Qatari government. Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani is the chairman of the board and is a member of the ruling family. Further, the government appoints Al Jazeera’s board of directors. Another privately-owned news media outlet is the online news blog Doha News owned by American journalists. Ownership of Doha has changed over the years and is currently owned by two American Journalists. In 2016 they published a controversial news story resulting in the Government temporarily shutting down the site.
When it comes to print media, generally, members of the ruling family of Qatar own them, such as Al-Arab, and its sister publication Al-Sharq, both owned by Dr. Khalid Thani A. Al Thani. The papers are pro-government with regular positive news about the ruling family and with little criticism. Some sensitive issues in Qatar are completely off-limits, such as religion, the Emir’s personal life, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and treatment of migrant workers. Further, defamation is a criminal offense, and therefore self-censorship is prevalent among journalists.
In summary, the government controls the media directly and indirectly since the Emir and his family own most outlets. Thus, the Qatari media faces a lack of press freedom and censorship at the hands of the government.
Last Updated on May 13, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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