The Qatar National Human Rights Committee, in cooperation with the International Press Institute (IPI) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), hosted the international conference “Freedom of Expression: Facing Up to the Threat” in Doha, Qatar from 24-25 July 2017.
The event was held amid a diplomatic crisis in the Middle East pitting Qatar against a group of states including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, which have accused Doha of supporting terrorism and imposed a land, air and sea blockade. The four countries have also demanded that Qatar shut the influential broadcaster Al Jazeera and other media outlets including Al Araby Al-Jadeed, Arabi21, Rassd and Middle East Eye, a demand that IPI and other groups have strongly rejected.
Over 150 representatives from civil society, academia and intergovernmental human rights bodies gathered in Doha to discuss key issues in the field of free expression, including Internet freedom and journalist safety. IPI Executive Board Chair John Yearwood addressed participants during the opening plenary session as well as the session “Media and War: Protecting journalists on the frontline”. Additionally, IPI Executive Board Member Daoud Kuttab spoke on the panel “Freedom of Expression: Facing Up to the Threat”.