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'Blockade is a blessing in disguise. It lit a flare of passion and hope in our hearts'

'Blockade is a blessing in disguise. It lit a flare of passion and hope in our hearts'


Malek Helali
Doha
SOCIAL media activists and hacktivists were in full force throughout the Gulf crisis and the extent of lies and fabrications were unimaginable putting the masses in a state of paranoia, according to Khalifa Saleh al Haroon, Qatari citizen and Founder and CEO of I Love Qatar Network (ILQ).
In a recent interview with Qatar Tribune, al Haroon said that the spread of fake news and propaganda campaigns on social media platforms during the blockade caused people to be more critical of the information they receive and brought them to question the reliability and credibility of information circulating online."Because there was a spotlight on Qatar, international media started caring more and started seeing what Qatar truly stood for which is peace and progress," he added.
Al Haroon noted that the blockade imposed on Qatar was a blessing in disguise."The blockade lit a flare within our hearts, not of anger or rage but of passion and hope," he said. Al Haroon further said that after a year under the blockade, Qatar is calmer. He added:"However, my only concern is complacency as we need to keep up the momentum and ensure that we remain active in developing and advancing the country, especially when it comes to new industrial development and the support of media so that more diversity of voices is achieved."
Local media outlets, influencers and even businesses in Qatar played a critical role in not only spreading the facts, but debunking any false news, according to al Haroon."You see, people trust people. They don't trust highly edited bits of journalism as much as before. So, when you have a person putting himself out there to reach the people with information, it's more trusted. It's like when people hear about a great restaurant, do you trust an ad in a paper, or do you trust what a friend recommends more?" he explained, adding that media outlets spreading fake news dug a hole for themselves because they have now been branded as fake news and people can easily see the propaganda.
Commenting on the collective responsibility of Qatari citizens towards their country, al Haroon said that he feels lucky to be a Qatari citizen having a great leadership."I could have been born in a country where the government doesn't care about me. I could have been born into a dictatorship where the average citizen has no voice. As a Qatari, I feel safe in knowing that I matter," he said.
Furthermore, al Haroon noted that privileges offered to Qatari citizens - a quality education, a land to build a home, programmes to receive trainings and an opportunity to leave behind a legacy - are the things that a citizen should be grateful for.
"Our royal family has everything in the world, while burdening a big boulder on their shoulders you thank them by being the best citizen you can be and by being there for your country in order to help shoulder some of that responsibility in whatever way possible. In my case, I'm lucky to have a great following of people that trust me and love to hear what I have to say, so my power is in using my voice for good," he concluded.

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