By Erika Widén
Jan Keulen is the second director of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom to be sacked since the organisation opened in 2008
Jan Keulen, director of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF), a non-profit organisation which works for press freedom in the Gulf State, has been sacked, local media in Qatar have reported.
Keulen had replaced Robert Ménard in 2009, who was also sacked just a year into his post as the first director of the organisation.
Ménard was the founder of Reporters Without Borders and submitted his resignation in 2009, along with three others, citing problems with the government and claiming the centre “had been suffocated” and could no longer had the resources to continue its work.
Khalid Al Sayed, editor in chief of Doha-based The Peninsula newspaper wrote yesterday in his opinion piece: “After five years, the Qatari society is still in the dark about the role of this centre and how it can contribute to media freedom here except in the form of organising a roundtable discussion or journalism training for students in Qatari schools.
“Many Qataris believe this centre did not play any meaningful role in the local media and in enhancing freedom of expression in the country, as a result of which it was focusing more on training or functioning as a learning centre,” he added.
According to Global Voices, many people in Qatar thought Ménard had been pushing too hard for reform without taking the country’s cultural sensitivities into consideration. In contrast, Keulen had been criticised for rarely pushing the envelope.
However, Al Sayed said the blame should not be levelled solely at Keulen and said the objective of the centre needed to be clearly laid out and he called for the centre to play a bigger role in Qatari local media.
Clearly the Qatar's have something to hide from the free world?