Qatar News Agency

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Qatar News Agency
Founded 1975; 43 years ago (1975)
Headquarters Doha, Qatar
Official website
Home Page[1] (in English)

Qatar News Agency (Wakalat Al Anba Al Qatariya)[2] is a state-run Qatari news agency.[3][4][5]

History and profile[edit]

Qatar News Agency was established by a decree issued on 25 May 1975.[6][7] It is attached to the Ministry of Information.[8] The former parent ministry was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[9] The headquarters of the agency is in Doha.[9]

The agency provides news in Arabic and English.[3] It has also Spanish and Portuguese news services.[10]

May 2017 incident[edit]

On 24 May Qatar stated that the website was hacked by an unknown source and that fake stories on sensitive issues were published before the site went offline. Subsequently Saudi Arabia, Egypt[11] and the United Arab Emirates blocked Qatari media, including broadcaster Al Jazeera.[12][13][14] On 5 June Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Maldives severed their relations with Qatar accusing it of supporting terrorism.[15]

According to Qatar-based Al Jazeera, hackers posted fake remarks on the official Qatar News Agency attributed to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, that expressed support for Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and Israel.[16] The emir was quoted as saying: “Iran represents a regional and Islamic power that cannot be ignored and it is unwise to face up against it. It is a big power in the stabilization of the region.”[17][18] Qatar reported that the statements were false and did not know their origin.[19] Despite this, the remarks were widely publicized in the various Arab news media, including UAE-based Sky News Arabia and Al Arabiya.[16] On 3 June 2017, the Twitter account of Bahraini foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa was hacked.[20]

Initially alleged Intelligence gathered by the US security agencies indicated that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qataris.[21][22] However, a U.S. official briefed on the inquiry told the New York Times that it "was unclear whether the hackers were state-sponsored"[23] and The Guardian diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour reported that "It is believed that the Russian government was not involved in the hacks; instead, freelance hackers were paid to undertake the work on behalf of some other state or individual."[22] A U.S. diplomat said that Russia and its ally Iran stood to benefit from sowing discord among U.S. allies in the region, "particularly if they made it more difficult for the United States to use Qatar as a major base."[23] The FBI sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the hacking incident.[24] Later New York Times reported that the hacking incidents may be part of long running cyberwar between Qatar and other Gulf countries that was only revealed to the public during the recent incidents and they noted how Saudi and UAE media picked up the statement made by the hacked media in less than 20 minutes and began interviewing many well-prepared commentators against Qatar.[25]

On 16 July, the Washington Post revealed that US intelligence officials pin-pointed the hack as being carried out by the UAE. The intelligence officials stated that the hacking was discussed among Emirati officials on 23 May, one day before the operation took place.[26] The UAE denied any involvement in the hacking.[27] It was announced on 26 August 2017 that five individuals allegedly involved in the hacking were arrested in Turkey.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Archived 14 February 2011 at WebCite
  2. ^ El Mustapha Lahlali (6 June 2011). Contemporary Arab Broadcast Media. Oxford University Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-7486-8864-7. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Qatar News Agency (QNA) - news agency in Doha, Qatar with local news and community events Archived 14 February 2011 at WebCite
  4. ^ Qatar Newspapers and News Sites Archived 14 February 2011 at WebCite
  5. ^ BBC News - Qatar country profile Archived 14 February 2011 at WebCite
  6. ^ Profile of Qatar - Media - Information Archived 14 February 2011 at WebCite
  7. ^ Barrie Gunter; Roger Dickinson (6 June 2013). News Media in the Arab World: A Study of 10 Arab and Muslim Countries. A&C Black. p. 34. ISBN 1-4411-0239-6. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Abbas Kadhim (15 February 2013). Governance in the Middle East and North Africa: A Handbook. Routledge. p. 273. ISBN 978-1-136-95966-0. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  9. ^ a b The Middle East and North Africa 2004. Taylor & Francis Group; Psychology Press. 30 October 2003. p. 954. ISBN 978-1-85743-184-1. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  10. ^ "Information and Media". Embassy of Qatar. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  11. ^ Michaelson, Ruth (25 May 2017). "Egypt blocks access to news websites including Al-Jazeera and Mada Masr". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  12. ^ "Qatar state news agency 'hacked with fake positive story about Israel and Iran'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  13. ^ "Qatar official state news agency hacked, sensitive articles published". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  14. ^ Alkhalisi, Zahraa (24 May 2017). "Al Jazeera blocked by Saudi Arabia and the UAE". CNNMoney. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  15. ^ "Saudi Arabia, Egypt lead Arab states cutting Qatar ties, Iran blames Trump". CNBC. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  16. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain cut ties to Qatar". AlJazeera.com. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  17. ^ "Hack, fake story expose real tensions between Qatar, Gulf". Fox News. 24 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Trump's 'Arab NATO' Vision is a Desert Mirage". Stratfor. 31 May 2017.
  19. ^ Barnard, Anne; Kirkpatrick, David (5 June 2017). "5 Arab States Break Ties With Qatar, Complicating U.S. Coalition-Building". New York Times. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  20. ^ "Bahrain minister briefly hacked after Qatar cyber attack". Phys.org. 3 June 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  21. ^ Evan Perez & Shimon Prokupecz, US suspects Russian hackers planted fake news behind Qatar crisis, CNN (6 June 2017).
  22. ^ a b Patrick Wintour, Russian hackers to blame for sparking Qatar crisis, FBI inquiry finds (7 June 2017).
  23. ^ a b Mark Landler, Trump Takes Credit for Saudi Move Against Qatar, a U.S. Military Partner, New York Times (6 June 2017).
  24. ^ "Ministry of the Interior Statement on Piracy Crime on Qatar News Agency Website". mofa.gov.qa. 
  25. ^ Kirkpatrick, David D.; Frenkel, Sheera (2017-06-08). "Hacking in Qatar Highlights a Shift Toward Espionage-for-Hire". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  26. ^ "UAE arranged hacking of Qatari media: Washington Post". Al Jazeera. 16 July 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  27. ^ Tamara Qiblawi and Angela Dewan (27 July 2017). "UAE denies Washington Post report it orchestrated Qatar hack". CNN. Retrieved 27 August 2017. 
  28. ^ "Qatar says five suspects in news agency hacking detained in Turkey". Reuters. 26 August 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2017.