Qatar: bikini models, Piglet from Winnie the Pooh censored

Gov't placed ad recruiting censors in Italian, German and Japanese

21 November, 18:11

Piglet, Winnie-the-Pooh's best friend, censored in Qatar Piglet, Winnie-the-Pooh's best friend, censored in Qatar

(ANSAmed) - DOHA - Bikini-clad models on Italian women's magazine Grazia and Piglet, Winnie-the-Pooh's best friend, have fallen under the censorship axe in Qatar.

Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani officially abolished press censorship in 1995, but the government is still blacking out imagery deemed offensive to Islam, such as certain body parts of bikini-wearing models, and the Piglet character, who portrays an animal the Muslim religion says is unclean.

Qatar placed 114th out of 179 countries in the 2011-2012 Reporters Without Borders press freedom ranking, but censorship here appears to be more cultural than political: while foreign publications are relatively scarce on national newsstands, in Doha there is Internet access to media with critical viewpoints.

However, the government a few months ago placed a newspaper ad looking for qualified personnel to censor German, Italian, and Japanese publications. An Italian who wishes to remain anonymous applied for the position, and told ANSA that no questions were asked as to professional background. The job interview consisted of translating an article on crimes of passion and domestic violence from Italian into English. The applicant was later told that the government might not go through with the project after all. (ANSAmed).

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