During the 20 months since we left Qatar, I have continued to read the Peninsular newspaper occasionally. It was my regular daily read whilst a resident along with the Doha News, an online news blog. Today, I deleted the link to Doha News.
The Peninsular is an anodyne mix of articles providing a positive slant on most everything that happens in Qatar. Doha News offered a more critical approach, often reporting on events in a less favourable light, although it was frequently criticised in the comments section for not always taking a hard enough line.
A short article Breaking the Silence by Shabina Khatri, one of the co-founders of Doha News and one of its former journalists, reveals the pressures of being the author of articles critical of the state and its rulers in the Gulf region.
For a considerable time, Doha News was blocked to residents in Qatar. At some point Shabina Khatri left Qatar to return to the USA. I can’t remember when ownership changed, but nothing was published for some months. Gradually articles began to appear, but pieces remotely controversial were few and far between, and it’s just become a glossy online blog version of all the other English language publications in Qatar.