Qatar, which has internationally become synonymous with the Al Jazeera satellite channel and its special brand of journalism, is home to one of the most controlled and stagnant press environments in the Gulf region. The contrast between the loud and controversial journalism shown daily on Al Jazeera and the tamed national newspapers, has earned Qatar the status of “the promoter of off-shore democracy”.
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Until the 1960s Qatar had no printed press and relied on imported newspapers from Egypt or Lebanon. The first Gulf-based newspaper to be distributed in Qatar was the Arab Gulf and its English-language sister the Gulf Daily Times, both printed in Al Manamah, the capital of Bahrain.
Language: Arabic Established: 1979 Published daily
A semi-official newspaper, Al Raya focuses on the receptions and activities of the ruling family and other members of the government. Besides the large supplements on sports and business, Al Raya has a special supplement called He and She.
Language: Arabic Established: 1995 Published daily
Owned by a member of the ruling family, Al Watan offers an extensive coverage of the activities of the ruling family and the government. The paper publishes three daily supplements on business & finance, sports and entertainment.
Language: English Established: 1978 Published daily
Published by the same house as the Al Raya daily, the Gulf Times has a special section on Islam as well as on regional conflicts such as Iraq. They also cover countries such as Great Britain, Ireland, India and the Philippines, which are of special interest to the large English-speaking expatriate community. Otherwise the paper displays conventional pro-government coverage of local politics.