At the end of November, the authorities in Qatar blocked access to dohanews.co inside the country.
In the interest of protecting our team, DN has reduced the number of articles it publishes until it can resolve the problem and get the site unblocked.
If you are in Qatar and experiencing difficulties reading the site, here are some ways you can still read us.
Peter Russell / Flickr
On December 4th, a Qatar Airways flight flying from Washington DC to Doha had to divert to The Azores after serious turbulence. I wrote a story for Doha News about the incident, which included compelling images and tweets from some of the passengers, who told me that they felt “abandoned” by the airline when they were not initially given visas to exit the airport.
You can read the story here.
Appearance on Al Jazeera’s The Stream
On November 16th, I appeared on Al Jazeera’s The Stream, a discussion programme which encourages audiences to take part via social media. This particular programme was focused on efforts currently being made by the Qatari government to improve breastfeeding rates.
I was interviewed because I have written numerous articles on maternity care in Qatar, and also because I have personal experience of very poor support for breastfeeding in the country.
You can watch the show here.
Frank de Kleine/Flickr
I recently wrote about the case of Srijana Shrestha, a 32-year-old expat who lost her job in Qatar after telling her boss that she was pregnant. She is currently taking her former boss to court for unfair dismissal.
Srijana contacted numerous Qatar newspapers about her situation, but none of them responded. This is why outlets like Doha News are vital in Qatar – we are the only journalists who will pursue these kind of stories, and without us, these cases go unreported.
You can read the article here.
I recently wrote three stories for Doha News about the state of maternity services in Qatar. They were the result of a lengthy process of research, multiple interviews and communication with hospitals (where it was possible – Al Ahli hospital refused to reply) to get their responses and points of view.
The first piece was about systemic issues which midwives and doulas working in the country allege make giving birth in Qatar at times unpleasant, overly-medicalised and in the case of a restriction on opiates, very painful.
The second piece carried on in this vein, examining the aftercare new mothers do (and do not) receive from medical facilities in Qatar; and in the third piece, I spoke to three women who had experienced miscarriage and stillbirth in the country. It was a depressing story to write, and all three women called for change in hospital policies.
The comments underneath each story are very interesting. There’s a real mix – some women were clearly delighted with the care they received, saying that it was far better than in their home countries, while others argued strongly that the opposite was true.
Have you given birth in Qatar? What was your experience like?
Catherine and Adam in the offices of law firm Squire Patton Boggs
Earlier this week, a long and painful saga came to an end. Catherine and Adam – previously known by pseudonyms Mary and William in a series of Doha News stories – were finally able to leave Qatar, more than three years after Catherine was first arrested in hospital for the crime of giving birth outside of wedlock.
I wrote a story for Doha News yesterday about how her departure came about; about the efforts of a legal team who, after reading about her plight in DN, fought for the lifting of her travel ban. The story has been shared more than four thousand times in 24 hours. Click here to read it.
Kenneth Paton (left) and Tim Reeber
Earlier this week, I wrote an article for Doha News about the plight of two American paramedics who had been made redundant by Qatar’s Hamad Medical Corporation, but couldn’t leave the country as they had debts to pay. Even worse, they weren’t sure they’d be allowed to get another job to help pay them off. The possibility of jail – a normal punishment for unpaid debts in Qatar – beckoned.
If you’re an expat and you’re contemplating taking out a large loan in Qatar, read on…
The National Crime Agency / Flickr
Recently, I co-wrote a story for Doha News about Martha Castellano, a Colombian woman who is in jail in Qatar for drug smuggling. Her story is complex and views on her predicament were mixed, but it certainly gives an interesting insight into the workings of the Qatari legal system.
Click here to read it.
Mary’s son, William
Earlier this month, I wrote an update for Doha News about ‘Mary’, the Filipina expat jailed in Qatar for giving birth out of wedlock and her son, William. They both ended up spending a total of three years in jail together in Doha, and Mary gave me a very honest and insightful interview about life behind bars in Qatar.
The conversation we had about her arrest in her hospital room four days after her son’s birth will stay with me forever, I think.
Click here to read the story on Doha News, and here if you’d like to contribute to a family fund raising money for Mary to hire a lawyer.
Images Money / Flickr
Last month, I spent several weeks researching and writing this story for Doha News about the financial advice industry in Qatar, and the bad experiences some investors have had with advisers in the region, both regulated and unregulated. It sparked a lot of interest, with many people sharing their experiences – both good and bad – in the comments section below.