Qatar Advisory Council calls for new press law


The Council, which was debating a petition made by a 24-member of the body about the “Responsible media freedom” has also sought the questioning of journalists trying to distort the image of Qatar and taking legal measures against them.

The session, which was held on Monday and chaired by the Advisory Council Speaker HE Mohamed bin Mubarak al-Khalifa, has endorsed the recommendations submitted by the Cultural and Media Committee at the Council on the topic of discussion and referred them to the Cabinet.

The recommendations stressed that media freedom should have legal and ethical limits and that the state’s interests should be considered.

“After the elapse of 30 years since the press law was issued in 1979 and in the wake of the developments the country witnessed, the committee recommends that a new law that keeps pace with the current and future changes should be issued,” the report by the Cultural and Media Affairs Committee said.

The report also called for questioning what it called “journalists distorting Qatar’s stances”.

“Journalists should stick to the objectivity and stay away from what instigates feelings,” it added.

The report also said the current concerned monitoring authorities should follow any offensive articles (writings) and take the required legal measures against the writer.

“Media freedom should be governed by rules and limits that cannot be exceeded,” the report added.

The committee also called for taking the steps that can ensure the Qatarisation of the local press and grooming national cadres at the media institutions.

HE Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari, the Minister of Culture, Arts, and Heritage, who attended the session, said that the current press law has become outdated and does not meet the new developments.

“The issuing of a new press law is a must now. We are facing a shortage of legislations that can address the excesses in media,” Dr al-Kuwari said.

“To lift press censorship, issue a constitution that guarantees freedom, and have a country with such openness, but still rely on a press law that was issued in 1979. This is an impossible mission,” the minister added.

The Advisory Council is a consultative body that has not legislative powers.


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