Despite the fact that newspaper censorship was lifted in Qatar more than 10 years ago, the country ranks second in the Arab world after Egypt when it comes to restricting the print media from doing its job freely and fairly.
This is the gist of a report issued recently by Amman-based Centre for Human Rights Studies. Some senior officials of the Centre were here recently to conduct a symposium held by Qatar's National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) on human rights and free expression.
The Centre classifies in its report titled 'Freedom of the Media in the Arab Countries' several Arab states and assigns each of them points on a scale of 100 percentage points.
The report contains tables each with a title and after assigning some points to a country on a scale of 100 percentage points, gives explanation at the end.
There are a number of tables in the report assessing a country concerned for crimes and violations like killings, kidnappings, trial and arrest of media workers, use of threats against them, isolation and preventing them from carrying out their job freely and fairly.
While Egypt has been assigned 25 percentage points on a scale of 100 in a table titled 'Censorship of Newspapers', Qatar, which is home to the revolutionary Al Jazeera TV Channel, has been ranked second with a high 21.43 per cent.
Incidentally, Bahrain and a more conservative Saudi Arabia along with Yemen, Oman, Palestine and Libya are at the bottom of the list having been assigned 3.75 percentage points each.
However, no trial of media persons in Qatar has been reported, the Amman-based Centre said in its findings.
As for physical attack on journalists, Qatar has been assigned a low of 2.15 percentage points in a table titled 'Physical assault on media workers' where the maximum percentage has been is 40.86 (Egypt). This suggests that the incidence of physical attack on scribes here is low.
The countries top on this list in the Arab world are Iraq, Yemen and Palestine, aside from Egypt.
In the matter of arbitrary arrest of scribes, Qatar finds itself at the bottom of the list where some 19 Arab states figure. In Yemen, Iraq, Algeria and Egypt, the arrests are commonplace.
However, use of threats against media persons is quite common in Qatar, according to an indicator-based classification carried by the report of the Amman-based Centre.
On a scale of 100 percentage points, Qatar is assigned 11.9 per cent, only after Yemen (20.24) and Palestine (19.05).
In countries such as Egypt and Libya, journalists face more isolation than in states like Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.
While on a scale of 100 percentage points, Egypt and Libya are assigned 20, the other countries have been allotted 10 points each. Qatar does not figure on this list.
The report is based on direct monitoring of violations of press freedom in the Arab countries in 2006. Also surveyed were on-line documents on press freedom such as the 'Arab Organisation for the Freedom of the Press', 'Reporters without Borders' and the 'International Committee for the Freedom of the Press'.
Source: The Peninsula
Qatarsucks.com Comments: Qatarsucks.com has been threatened several times in its short history. As you know, we are only reporting what little we get from the government-controlled media in Qatar. You aren't even getting the tip of the iceberg in terms on abuse of third-country nationals here.