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Operation Collateral Freedom

Reporters Without Borders

Qatar listed amongst RSF’s Enemies of the Internet

As Doha News approaches its fourth month of being blocked in Qatar, international non-profit Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has come up with an innovative solution to the issue.

As part of a campaign to mark World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, the group has launched a mirrored version of the Doha News website that is accessible in Qatar.

Bookmark this URL to access our site whenever you want: http://ec2-52-17-106-120.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com/

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

If you use Google Chrome, RSF has also built a handy Chrome browser extension to make it easier to access the mirror.

Fighting censorship

The mirrored site is part of RSF’s annual Operation #CollateralFreedom campaign. This year, the group is unblocking 24 websites across Turkey, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and beyond.

RSF explains how it works on their website:

“Operation #CollateralFreedom circumvents technological censorship by means of an original strategy in which “mirrors” or duplicates of the censored websites are created on the servers of the world’s Internet giants.

Authoritarian regimes cannot block access to the mirrors without the “collateral damage” of restricting their own access to the services of these Internet companies.”

Do the sites for you? Thoughts?

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

Happy Birthday Doha News

Doha News turns eight this week, and it’s been a bittersweet birthday for our team.

Since the government blocked our website in November, we don’t know what this coming year will hold.

But we thank you for your continuing support.

Lance Cenar

Doha News Meetup 2016

And we hope to continue serving Qatar’s community by providing interesting, informative and incisive news.

Top tweets

DN first began in the form of a Twitter account, before evolving into a Tumblr blog and eventually a proper website.

Here’s our first tweet, which I posted eight years ago this week:

Taking a quick trip down memory lane, here are 10 of our most popular tweets (according to RTs) since we first got started that day in March 2009.

The stories range from serious to light-hearted, to quirky and inspiring.

What are some of your favorite DN pieces from over the years? Thoughts?

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

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.

Doha News

DN

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. For us, operating outside of Qatar makes sense until then.

Chapendra/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

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 no 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 [email protected]

Thoughts?