- Special Pages
By Azmat Haroon
Doha: As the news of the fire at Villaggio spread across the city, the Ministry of Interior went into an overdrive on social media, updating information of the incident and warning people not to pay heed to rumours.
Social media sites went viral with the news. The Ministry of Interior, citizens, expatriates and journalists used platforms like Twitter and Facebook for keeping abreast of the goings-on at the site of the blaze.
Independent online media initiative Dohanews became the first to break the news. Pictures of smoke billowing from Villaggio were posted online by visitors who were present inside the mall.
‘Citizen journalism’, carried out by residents on social media websites, helped to report cases of missing family members.
Traditional media, such as local television and radio channels in particular, came under flak for failing to cover one of the biggest tragedies to strike the country in recent times.
The fire, which broke out at 11:00am yesterday, was not mentioned in any of the news updates streamed on QBS Radio until the evening news update.
Earlier in the day, the local radio channel was reportedly broadcasting a programme about websites where people connect to have affairs. People were also offended by the fact that music was played non-stop when many were mourning, leading to a flood of occupyqbs hashtag on Twitter.
Programmes on Qatar Television continued to run their normal course without providing news of the fire. The press conference by the Ministry of Interior was mentioned in the evening news update, which was why many called local television an ‘epic fail’.
Al Rayyan TV Channel, a new addition to the national television network, beamed news about the fire at 8:14 pm