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Monday, February 19, 2007

English language newspapers

There are currently three local English Language newspapers, and they’re actually not that bad. The Gulf Times is the longest running newspaper, and currently has the biggest circulation, but The Peninsula is rather more critical. The Qatar Tribune is the new kid on the block, and is still finding its feet: while international coverage is comprehensive, local news is scarce compared to the other papers. All the papers have a focus on news from the most common groups of expatriates.

The Khaleej Times is a regional newspaper, and doesn’t cover Qatar very well, being more focused on the UAE. Nevertheless, it’s actually a really good read, with gossip pages, analysis and more. If you don’t just want local news there’s a lot more to it than the other papers. American and British papers are available, although they are expensive and may be out of date.

While sometimes there is a rather strange turn of phrase in the local papers, they are generally well proof-read and actual grammatical errors are kept to a minimum. International news is taken from news agencies, but all the local papers have a team of journalists to cover local events. They do seem to have a habit of printing some press releases verbatim, without analysis or comment. Yet at the same time they have a reputation for being more vocal than the Arabic newspapers. With reports on strikes, living and working conditions for expats and maids and criticism of government institutions, these papers can give you a real feel of the country and its issues.

In addition, the Gulf Times and the Peninsula both have websites with the most recent news, although they are not fully functional and searching for old news stories is impossible. All the papers provide classifieds, which are a good source of second hand cars and other goods, but these are only available on the printed versions of the paper.

You can buy English language newspapers in most of the shops. Alternatively, just wait until you stop at some traffic lights and buy a paper off one of the poor souls there.

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