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Qatar to create platform for regional HAM broadcasters.

By Zia Khan/Staff Reporter Qatar will push for creating a common platform for amateur radio broadcasters from all over the Arab world to 'institutionalise' what currently is a hobby for individuals, HE the Chairman of Administrative Control and Transparency Authority, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, said yesterday.

"We are looking into it and hope will be able to do that sometime next year," said al-Attiyah, at a news conference in Doha.

Al-Attiyah, who is also the chairman of Qatar Amateur Radio Society (QARS), hoped that the country would be hosting early next year such broadcasters at least from the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member states.

"We are going to have a very strong Arab union and this initiative can help us achieve that goal," al-Attiyah added. He was talking to media after delivering a keynote speech at an international festival organised by the QARS.

Al-Attiyah said at least five mobile amateur radio stations would be set up on Qatar's National Day (tomorrow) to amuse people on the Corniche.

These portable radio stations, he explained, would be moving up and down along the Corniche to reach out to as many people as they could. Al-Attiyah said he was himself an amateur broadcaster in the 70s and used to cultivate friendships across the globe through his hobby.

He said that there were several hundred members associated with the QARS and they undergo extensive training and orientation sessions before getting a licence.

Al-Attiyah said the concept of amateur radio is different from the social media network because an individual can do 'whatever is on one's mind' on networking sites like the Facebook and Twitter.

One the other hand, he explained, the amateur radio stations in Qatar were not allowed to discuss politics, religion and business on the waves to avoid the 'negative' use of the facility and liberty available to them.

He added that there was no monitoring mechanism to check whether amateur broadcasters were stepping out of their mandated territory but a deep sense of the social responsibility kept them away from forbidden topics.

He said the amateur broadcasting has very strong social implications as those running such ventures in Qatar were on the forefront of relief efforts after earthquakes in Iran and Turkey in recent years by motivating people to donate for rehabilitation.

In some instances, he revealed, these broadcasters were helpful in establishing a link between victims in home countries and their relatives in Qatar when all other means of communication did not work properly.

Gulf Times Newspaper 2012

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Dec 16, 2012
Words:427
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