Al Jasra Club invited Dr Khaled al-Jaber, a media academic from Qatar University, to give a lecture on his new book - 'Media in Qatar' - Saturday evening at the club’s headquarters. The meeting was convened by writer Hanan Badii and focused on the Qatari media’s journey from inception to current trends. Dr al-Jaber presented documents for the first time, which are included in his book.
<< The cover of the book
The lecture dealt with the process of media and communication in Qatar since its inception, from the initiatives of printing poetry books, scientific and religious books abroad in the late 19th century, to the emergence of modern written and audiovisual means of communication, and official and private institutions and agencies involved in it from its inception to the present day.
Dr al-Jaber reviewed the beginnings of dealing with the field of printing and publication through the printing of books and collections outside Qatar, specifically in India. This was considered a major landmark at that stage, linking the heritage of the East with the achievements of the West. He referred to the initiatives undertaken by the first generation, which were represented by Founder Sheikh Jassim bin Mohamed bin Thani -- may Allah have mercy on him -- for printing his book, 'A Message in Nabati (colloquial Arabic) Poetry', at Al-Mustafawi Press, in Mumbai, India, in 1907. This led to the initiative of the dean of Qatari Press, Abdullah Hussein Naema, to introduce the first civil printing press, powered by leg force, to Qatar in 1955.
Dr al-Jaber focused on the emergence of the press in its modern form, and the spread of Arab and foreign newspapers in Qatar. He reviewed the reports published by some Arab newspapers about Qatar in the past. A press release was issued by 'Qatar Oil Company News' in 1960, which represented the start in the launch of newspapers in their modern form in Qatar. It was issued by the Public Relations Department of Qatar Oil Company Ltd. After this, the Official Government Gazette was issued in 1961 with wide circulation, followed by daily and weekly newspapers since the beginning of the seventies, such as 'Al Arab' and 'Arrayah', which were published in Arabic, and 'Gulf Times', issued in English. Then followed the launch of other newspapers in the '80s and '90s, such as 'Al Sharq' and 'Al Watan', and the continued emergence of newspapers.
Dr al-Jaber reviewed the most important and leading magazines and publications that had the greatest influence in the media scene of Qatar. Most of these were issued in Arabic from the end of the '60s to the '70s, such as 'Doha' magazine, 'Al Uruba', 'Al Ahed', 'Al Jawhara' and other general and specialised magazines.
Dr al-Jaber then talked about the emergence of radio and recalled the march of radio broadcasting in the Arab world from the beginning of the 1920s in Egypt and Algeria, up to the '60s of the last century in the Arab Gulf states. He referred to the use of simple devices that were used in Qatar Petroleum corporation to communicate with its employees and workers.
Dr al-Jaber said he also chronicled the era of TV and dealt with the advance of television broadcasting by Arab stations, starting from Iraq, Algeria in the mid-fifties, passing through Lebanon, Egypt and Kuwait in the early sixties, until the seventies and the launch of black and white TV broadcasting in Qatar. He also talked about the paradigm shift brought about by the technological boom through the advent of satellites.
He spoke about the emergence of Al Jazeera and discussed the effects and repercussions of digital communication tools, the Internet and social media platforms.
Dr al-Jaber said the book studies the press and media laws and legislation in Qatar, and also reviews official institutions, private bodies, institutes and universities that are concerned with the media industry in Qatar. Finally, he said the book presents a set of perceptions, theses and proposals that deal with the current and future challenges of the media in Qatar.