An update on Doha News being blocked in Qatar

The image that comes up when someone tries to access a blocked website in Qatar.

For nearly two months now, Doha News has been censored in Qatar by order of the government.

Officials insist the step was taken because we are not properly licensed.

We’ve been told that until we set up a new company and obtain a media license approved by the culture ministry, all Doha News activities within Qatar are in violation of the law.

This is because authorities don’t recognize our existing partnership with a Qatari company.

In response, last month we ceased all activities within the country, both media and advertising-related. For the time being, we are working with staff outside of Qatar.

We have notified authorities that we are no longer operating in the country, and thus not in violation of any of Qatar’s laws.

Because of this, we have requested that Doha News be unblocked. However, officials have taken no action in this regard, saying the issue remains under review.

Future of Doha News

Doha News is keen to fulfill whatever legal requirements are expected of us to operate in Qatar.

However, this process may take some time, as licensing and other bureaucratic procedures are complex — and change frequently. For us, operating outside of Qatar makes sense until then.

Photo for illustrative purposes. Credit: Chapendra/Flickr

So going forward, we plan to continue publishing daily, albeit with fewer articles.

Having been around for nearly 10 years, we believe we cover news in Qatar better than anyone, and will continue to report on stories in a way that serves the community, and not special interests.

Keep us going

Despite the block, interest in our content remains robust.

In addition to website traffic, we have many readers accessing our stories via VPN, via our daily newsletter, by reading Medium, and through Facebook instant articles and Google AMP, which can be accessed inside Qatar without VPN.

To maintain our operations, we still welcome advertisers, and continue to seek direct support from our readers through our membership program.

Finally, in order to move forward in Qatar, Doha News is seeking new investors and partners to help us grow and improve the work we do.

In particular, we are in search of a local business partner who shares our vision in establishing an independent media company in Qatar.

If you’re interested in what we are doing, please do contact me on omar@dohanews.co.

Thoughts?