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Arabs wary of expressing their opinions online

Fascinating study results published in Qatar’s Gulf Times:



Northwestern University in Qatar has released new findings from an eight-nation survey indicating many people in the Arab world do not feel safe expressing political opinions online despite sweeping changes in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

From over 10,000 people surveyed in Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the UAE, 44% expressed some doubt as to whether people should be free to criticise governments or powerful institutions online.

Over a third of Internet users surveyed said they worry about governments checking what they do online.

According to the report, “The implied concern (of governments checking what they do online) is fairly consistent in almost all countries covered, but more acute in Saudi Arabia, where the majority (53%) of those surveyed expressed this concern.”

The study – titled ‘Media Use in the Middle East – An Eight-Nation Survey’ – was undertaken by researchers at NU-Q to better understand how people in the region use the Internet and other media. It comes as the university moves towards a more formalised research agenda and is the first in what will be a series of reports relating to Internet use.

The survey includes a specific chapter on Qatar, the only country where those surveyed regarded the Internet as a more important source of news than television. “We took an especially close look at media use in the State of Qatar – a country with one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the Arab world—and internationally,” said NU-Q dean and CEO Everette Dennis.

These findings follow a preliminary report NU-Q released last April that showed web users in the Middle East support the freedom to express opinions online, but they also believe the Internet should be more tightly regulated. “While this may seem a puzzling paradox, it has not been uncommon for people the world over to support freedom in the abstract but less so in practice,” Dennis explained.

Among other findings, the research shows: 45% of people think public officials will care more about what they think and 48% believe they can have more influence by using the Internet.

Adults in Lebanon (75%) and Tunisia (63%) are the most pessimistic about the direction of their countries and feel they are on the ‘wrong track.’

Respondents were far more likely to agree (61%) than disagree (14%) that the quality of news reporting in the Arab world has improved in the past two years, however less than half think overall that the news sources in their countries are credible.

Online transactions are rare in the Middle East, with only 35% purchasing items online and only 16% investing online.

The complete set of results from the survey is available online at  The new interactive pages hosting the survey on the website have features that allow users to make comparisons between different countries, as well as between different demographics within each country.

Dennis confirmed that the research report is the first in an annual series of reports produced in collaboration with the World Internet Project; one of the world’s most extensive studies on the Internet, in which NU-Q is a participating institution.

NU-Q and WIP signed an agreement earlier in the year, providing a global platform for the current research.

June 29, 2013 Posted by | Blogging, Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Jordan, Leadership, Living Conditions, Middle East, Privacy, Qatar, Safety, Saudi Arabia, Social Issues, Survival, Transparency, Tunisia | , , , | Leave a comment

Lamborghini Aventador: Qatari Royal’s £350k supercar towed in Knightsbridge

LLOOOLLLLL! Great story, thanks John Mueller!

Little cross cultural problem going on . . . no license? No registration? No problem, you know my uncle, right, the Amir of Qatar . . . LOL!

Batman wouldn’t stand for it: Police peer inside the garish car’s doors (Picture: SWNS)


It’s hard not to notice a bright purple Lamborghini with orange trim. So the driver of this £350,000 supercar was asking for trouble when he went for a spin without a front numberplate.

Police spotted the infringement and impounded the vehicle after its 24-year-old owner – thought to be a member of the Qatari royal family – was unable to produce evidence that he had a driving licence or insurance.

Crowds gathered as the 220mph Aventador was towed away in London’s Knightsbridge.


Arab playboys descend on the wealthy neighbourhood each summer in costly cars flown from home and often hit trouble for lacking the correct papers.

The mean machines are a draw for petrolheads but the roaring engines annoy residents.

Off we tow: The Lamborghini Aventador is loaded onto a truck (Picture: SWNS)

Dozens of onlookers gathered to photograph the scissor-doored supercar, which has been customised by a Japanese tuning company.

One fan said: ‘It is great when the wealthy foreign tourists come over to London every summer as you always see these amazing supercars.

‘The Lamborghini looked like something out of Tron, it was absolutely stunning.

‘Hopefully there was just some confusion over the correct paperwork and it will be back on the road


First it was carted off on the back of a truck, then it faced the crusher, now glow-in-the dark Lamborghini is ticketed in Mayfair

  • Police impounded £350k supercar after owner failed to produce documents
  • But he was slapped with ticket just hours after retrieving it from police
  • Purple Lamborghini Aventador customised to glow in the dark
  • Owner believed to be Nasser Al-Thani, 24, of Qatar’s ruling family


PUBLISHED: 04:49 EST, 5 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:32 EST, 5 July 2013

He was only a hair’s breadth away from seeing his beloved £350,000 supercar crushed to a pulp after it was seized by police for driving offences.

So you might think the owner of this glow-in-the-dark Lamborghini would be a bit more careful next time.

But within hours of retrieving his purple sports car from the Metropolitan Police, he found himself on the wrong side of the law again after being slapped with a parking ticket.

Read more:

June 29, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Humor, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Qatar | | Leave a comment