The next day, in a statement, the press office of Qatar’s government dismissed this report as fake news.
The report comes at a time when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain continue a blockade against their neighbour Qatar due to accusations of supporting terrorism which Qatar strongly denies.
“This is just the latest example of fake news created by the blockading countries,” said Saif Al Thani, director of the press office of Qatar’s government.
“The blockading countries are becoming increasingly desperate in their efforts to isolate Qatar because the international community has not been fooled by the smear campaign. They are now continuing their focus on public opinion; they are spending millions on creating fake news.”, he added.
We asked journalist and former editor of Al Jazeera, Ruben Banerjee, for a comment:
It appears the United Arab Emirates and the other regional rivals are attempting to fish in
troubled waters. They are out to smear the ruling family of Qatar and are desperate to show them in poor light. News that there were demonstrations in Doha fits into their scheme of things. They want to show the world that there exists a groundswell of disenchantment against the Qatari regime. Of course, there are many things wrong with Qatar and certainly, there exist a lot of grievances. But there is nothing to suggest that the reports of protests are true. Qatar isn’t exactly free, despite hosting Al Jazeera, and it is unbelievable that the country would allow such demonstrations. Dissent is quashed brutally in the entire region, including the United Arab Emirates, Ruben Banerjee for Fairpress.
This isn’t the first case in which the blockading countries want to show Qatar in a poor light via media. Al Jazeera reports that earlier this week, Qatar filed a complaint to the Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) because Al Arabiya TV, a Saudi-owned television channel based in Dubai, aired a video animation showing a simulation of shooting down a Qatar Airways passenger jet. In the video it is stated that if the Qatar civilian jet accidentally finds itself in the Saudi airspace – which was closed after the blockade was announced in June – international laws permit the kingdom’s air force to bring down the aircraft, Al Jazeera reported.