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Foreign Minister To Confront Hostile Media Campaign

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Qatar has been targeted as a ‘hostile media campaign’ following the hack of QNA (Qatar News Agency).

“It is clear that there is a media campaign targeting Qatar and we will address it,” Foreign Minister HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani said during a joint press conference with the Somali Foreign Minister Yussef Jarad Omar Ahmed in Doha on Thursday.

The FM also dismissed media reports of any rift between Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states”.

Expressing astonishment over the number of recent articles attacking Qatar in the US, the FM said,”It is surprising that during the past five weeks, there were 13 opinion articles focused on Qatar in the US media by different writers.”

He said the day QNA was hacked, a”conference on Qatar was convened in the US without us attending it, while the authors of those articles were there”.

The FM said the cyberattack took place the same evening as the conference, and wondered:”Is this a coincidence?”

“We believe that this (hacking of QNA website) is a criminal act leading to the spread of lies and fake news and is subject to probe by our investigating authorities. The perpetrator of this crime will be punished as per our judicial system,” the Foreign Minister said.

“The general public is very much aware of the actual situation and the true reality on the ground. Soon, those who played foul behind the scene will be exposed and brought to justice. We are surprised at certain media outlets which are running a campaign against Qatar,” he said.

Apparently there was an attack to run anti-Qatar campaign by a few media groups.

It’s surprising since some of the outlets in the Gulf region supported this anti-Qatar media campaign and continued to publish improper news in spite of a strong disapproval by Qatar.

“The perpetrator, even if located outside of Qatar, will be punished through the appropriate international cybercrime laws,” he added.

The firewalls and other methods of protection in all sectors of the state are at the maximum level and very difficult to be hacked, and that hacking of QNA website is still under investigation.

The FM also dismissed media reports of any rift between Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, stressing that Qatar has always maintained “strong and brotherly relations with all the GCC countries”.

“We had a very positive and fruitful discussion with other GCC states in Riyadh just a few days before hacking of QNA website. Qatar has always believed in strong and brotherly relations with the GCC nations.”

He continued, “There is a greater need for the Gulf member states to stay united to combat the regional crisis. We firmly believe that all of us have the same destiny and are affected alike by any regional crisis.”

When asked about Qatari-US relations, the foreign minister noted the bilateral relations remain strong.

“The relation between Qatar and the US has always been very strong, it’s a strategic relationship. We had very good discussions between the Emir and US President Donald Trump (in Riyadh this week)… and they appreciate this partnership between Qatar and the US,” the FM said.

He said The Al Udeid Military Base in Qatar is governed by an agreement between Qatar and the US. In case of matters related to this, it will be subject to the terms of the agreement, he said.