19 Mar 2013

Website 'banned' from reporting Doha fire hearing

9:05 am on 19 March 2013

A journalist says a Qatar court is stopping her from reporting on the hearings into a mall fire that killed Zealand triplets last year.

Nineteen people, including two-year-olds Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, died in a blaze at the Villaggio shopping centre in Doha in May 2012.

A court will begin hearing closing arguments next week but has ruled the Doha News website can listen but not report on any of the proceedings until it can prove it is an official media outlet.

The English language website, which has attended 10 previous hearings, is the first digital news outlet in Qatar.

Editor Shabina Khatri told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme that, apart from the website, coverage of the hearing in local media has been minimal.

She said she feels bad for relatives of victims' families who don't speak Arabic and want to be informed.