The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) has stressed the need to respect religious values, customs and traditions by not displaying any goods, pictures, or visual or audio materials that would violate Islamic values, public morals, customs and traditions, the official Qatar News Agency reports.
The ministry noted that Clause No. 4 of Article 2, Law No. 8 of 2008 on Consumer Protection, includes "the right to respect religious values, materials and traditions". This was highlighted in a circular issued to commercial suppliers and merchants, published on the ministry's official Twitter account yesterday.
Violators will be punished with fines of up to QR1mn and other penalties.
The MoCI explained that all merchants and major shopping centres operating in the country must abide by the following:
* Co-ordinating with import sources before supplying any products for trading in the Qatari market, and ensuring that they do not promote or carry slogans, designs, symbols or expressions that are contrary to the teachings of the Islamic religion.
* Committing to refrain from displaying any goods on storefronts, which would violate common decency and the nation's traditions and customs.
* Refraining from the use of inappropriate gifts and packaging materials, or marketing and promoting products bearing slogans, symbols or phrases having immoral connotations that violate the religious and cultural values of the community.
* Refraining from publishing any images, audio clips, visuals or other materials with immoral or indecent content.
The ministry has warned that any violation or negligence in the implementation of these obligations shall lead to the referral of the perpetrators to the competent authorities, who shall take the due measures including a fine of up to QR1mn; administrative closure for three months; and cancellation of the commercial licence and banning the violator from practising any commercial activity.
The MoCI has emphasised that the practice of commercial activities and circulation of goods and services must be carried out while ensuring respect for Islamic values and adhering to the customs and traditions of the Qatari society.
It has called upon consumers to report any goods bearing logos or designs that violate customs and traditions, and to specify their locations so that the ministry's inspectors can take the necessary measures.