By Javier Picazo Feliu
Doha, Nov 11 (EFE).- Qatar is a leader in technology and communications, hosting some of the world’s most influential media outlets Al Jazeera and beIN Sports as well as the multinational telecommunications firm Ooredoo, which has surged to success in the Middle East region and beyond.
The company has been named as the Official Global Connectivity Services Provider for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
In 2021, Qatar’s information and communications technology sector was estimated at $4.4 billion, the fastest growing in the Middle East, according to official data.
Its harnessing of Internet technology, with the world’s first commercial 5G network, has boosted this rapid development.
Qatar is one of the few countries in the world that launched a National Artificial Intelligence Initiative, which was approved in 2019 to transform the Gulf nation into a knowledge economy, with a focus on the health, entertainment, business, education and development sectors.
Currently, there are about 10 newspapers in Qatar, including the Gulf Times, The Peninsula and the weekly Gulf News.
But its most widely circulated newspaper is al-Watan, which sends out 18,000 copies a day.
The Qatar Media Corporation (QMC) is the official broadcasting network established to supervise television and radio media such as Qatar TV, Alkass Sports and Qatar Radio.
In 2007, Qatar inaugurated the Doha Center for Media Freedom to promote freedom of the press not only locally but also throughout the entire region.
Qatar also has Al Jazeera. It was created in 1996 and became the main news channel with an estimated 270 million viewers.
Al Jazeera’s spinoff, BeIN Sports, directed by Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser al-Khelaifi, has the broadcasting rights for main tournaments and championships.
‘BEST COVERAGE EVER’
With nearly 3,700 employees operating in some 43 countries, beIN network produces content for 60 channels and provides 7,500 hours of live sports a month.
It is also the official broadcaster of the World Cup.
“It’s the biggest event and we’ve been leading up to it for 12 years, so it’s been at the back beat of everything that we’ve done over that time and to be a part of that for that time has been a huge privilege,” Duncan Walkinshaw, the network’s director of programs, tells Efe.
Some 120 anchors, reporters, and analysts are lined up for the prestigious tournament.
Among them are former soccer players Kaka, Gabriel Batistuta, David Villa, Alessandro Del Piero and Ruud Gullit.
BeIN Sports will stream live HD and 4K coverage of the World Cup on seven channels in Arabic, French and English.
“We have to bring excitement, entertainment, we have to bring the best analysts, the best tools for analyzing, to tell the story to the fans, better and more in depth than we have ever done before,” he added.