The Doha Centre for Media Freedom marked World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) early, celebrating with a captivating cartoon exhibition featuring artists from across the world, a comedy performance by Qatar’s young comic Mohammed Fahad Kamal and two panel discussions with several prominent commentators from the region.
The focus of this year’s WPFD, which falls on May 3, is on new voices and social media, and with that in mind organisers of the Doha event screened live tweets from the night.
Criticism was not off limits, in the spirit of the event, and there was also much to celebrate in light of recent events which some said have catalysed a new era for press freedom.
Here are a few of the tweets we collected last night from the audience, participators and organisers:
#WPFD was started by the UN 19 yrs ago..the idea was to have a day of memory for those colleagues who were killed
Freedom of expression lies at the heart of freedom of the media...but freedom of the media is related to 'good' journalism
I think good journalism, the first obligation is to the truth. A journalist is serving the people.
(Qatar media) has room for improvement. Investigative journalism and reportage is missing here. Also lack of news analysis.
Abdullah Al-Athba, Qatari newspaper editor:
Free expression will grow when education also grows
There's a rejection of free expression, not only by govts but also communities.
'when you pay, you can say' - uses example of Qatar and Al Jazeera, unlike BBC which is more independent
State media is now advertising policies of military council
In the 1960s, Lebanese newspapers were the most prominent
The best dialogue on Media Freedom I head in
#Qatar happened today
Censorship is the biggest problem.
Arab govts have got it wrong. They think young boys are interested in women + sports. They're not. They want change.
There are job ads from security forces to recruit young people to monitor twitter. (Doesn't specify country)