Qatar profile

Al-Jazeera's newsroom in Doha, Qatar The Qatar-based international news station Al-Jazeera has transformed the media across the Middle East

Influential pan-Arab and international TV broadcaster Al-Jazeera has raised Qatar's media profile.

The Doha-based operation is owned by the Qatar government. Its main Arabic news network can be outspoken on subjects deemed as sensitive in the region, but avoids criticism of Qatar and its Gulf allies, specifically Saudi Arabia. It has faced curbs in several Arab countries where it has ruffled feathers.

Al-Jazeera English, launched in 2006, touts itself as the first Middle East-based English-language news TV. Al-Jazeera Balkans began broadcasting in 2011 from Bosnia. Al-Jazeera America, a US-based network, is in the pipeline.

Domestic audiences are catered for by state-run TV and radio. The large expatriate population has access to media from their various home countries.

Qatar has four daily newspapers in Arabic and three in English. The main titles have links to the ruling family. Political and financial pressures "weigh heavily" on the editorial line taken by newspapers, says Reporters Without Borders.

Media legislation approved in 2012 prohibits the distribution of material that causes "confusion" in relations between Qatar and Arab and friendly states, or that "abuses" the regime and offends the ruling family.

BBC World Service radio in Arabic, Radio France Internationale, France's Arabic-language radio service Monte Carlo Doualiya, UAE-based MBC and Radio Sawa from the US are available on FM in Doha.

Qatar has the highest internet penetration rate in the Middle East. There were 1.7 million internet users by June 2012 (Internetworldstats.com). Authorities filter political criticism, material deemed offensive to Islam, pornographic content and online privacy resources.

The press

Television

  • Al-Jazeera - influential pan-Arab satellite broadcaster, financed by the Qatar government
  • Qatar TV - state-run; operates main Arabic service, Koran channel, English channel, satellite channel

Radio

News agency/internet

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