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We'll confront hostile media campaign: FM

We'll confront hostile media campaign: FM


Maneesh Bakshi
Doha
Qatar on Thursday said it is a target of a"hostile media campaign" after Qatar News Agency (QNA) was hacked and vowed to confront it.
"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.
The FM said there was a deliberate attempt to run an anti-Qatar campaign by certain media groups.
He said it was a matter of surprise that even some of the news outlets in the Gulf region supported this anti-Qatar media campaign and continued to publish incorrect news despite a strong denial by Qatar.
The minister said evidence against the QNA hacking are being collected.
"The perpetrator, even if located outside of Qatar, will be punished through the appropriate international cybercrime laws," he added.
He said Qatar will take a number of additional steps to strengthen its electronic security system.
The firewalls and means of protection in all sectors of the state are at the highest level and very difficult to be hacked, he said, adding 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 a"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."
In response to a question on Qatari-US relations, the foreign minster said 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 the occurrence of anything related to this matter, it will be subject to the terms of the agreement, he said.

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