Rights group criticizes Qatari draft media law

By REUTERS
October 30, 2012 18:28

 
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DOHA - Qatar's draft media law came under fire on Tuesday from Human Rights Watch, which singled out "loosely worded provisions" penalising criticism of the Gulf emirate and its neighbors.

The New York-based organization urged Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani not to approve the law as drafted, calling it "a commitment to censorship."

Qatari officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Freedom of expression is tightly controlled in the tiny autocratic Gulf state, with self-censorship prevalent among national newspapers and other media outlets.

A close US ally that hosts a large US military base, Qatar has escaped the unrest that has engulfed other parts of the region. It lacks any organized political opposition.

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