Media analysts and journalists in Qatar are optimistic that the country will see a new media law to replace the existing one, which was passed in 1979.
The Qatari cabinet announced last October that a new media law to regulate the industry would be ready by the end of the year.
Ali bin Sumigh al-Marri, chairman of the National Human Rights Commission in Qatar, said he expects the government will release the new law soon.
"The National Commission for Human Rights in Qatar had asked to issue a new publications law to be consistent with freedom of the press, and I expect the new law will be announced soon," Al-Marri told Al-Shorfa.
As the headquarters of Al-Jazeera, Qatar's ranking on the press freedom index rose to 74 in 2008 but has dropped during the past two years to 121 out of 178 countries, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Four Arabic-language newspapers and two English-speaking newspapers are published locally.
Details about the new law have not been revealed. Many journalists and writers, however, stressed the need for it.
Qatari writer Norah Al Saad said any postponement of the law would disrupt media activities.
"The continued postponement of the law to regulate the media disrupts a lot of necessary steps awaited by many individuals and companies and is a disservice to the cultural life and activity of the media in particular," she told Al-Shorfa.
Al Saad called for the establishement of a journalists' association in Qatar.
Qatar University Professor Dr. Rabia Al-Kuwari said the law is needed preserve Qatari heritage and promote ethics.
"Issuing a publications law in line with the ethics of media in print, online and television, and the creation of a satellite TV station focused on Qatari heritage and identity -- in order to preserve this heritage -- has become an urgent necessity," Al-Kuwari told Al-Shorfa.
"We hope that private sector radio and satellite TV stations are granted licenses in Qatar and that the Shura Council decision be activated to open more of those, especially as Qatari media is developing and increasing its openness to the world," Al-Kuwari said.
The Shura council last year passed a controversial law imposing stiff penalties on any journalist who slanders the Emir or threatens Islam, national security or Qatar's constitution. The Emir did not sign the law, which triggered concerns about media freedom in the emirate.
Egyptian journalist Ibrahim Ahmed Adnan believes the new law will "provide greater protection for journalists working in Qatar".
"Everybody here, whether they are Qataris or Arabs, are waiting and hoping that the new law will address the issue of transferring (employment) sponsorship, so journalists have the right to change their place of employment regardless of the sponsor's consent," Adnan told Al-Shorfa.
Adnan said hosting the World Cup in 2022 will encourage Qatar to pass legislation that was stalled before.
"Qatar's winning bid will prompt legislators to issue a number of laws related to the country's internal affairs, notably the publications law. There is a belief today that the law is ready and that most competent authorities have approved it, as the law will be a qualitative addition to the freedom of the press in Qatar," he said.
According to statements by Qatari officials, Qatar is seeking to create a generation of local media professionals as the percentage of Qataris employed in local media is only 5%.
The low ratio of Qataris working in local media prompted the Qatari Ministry of Culture to adopt a long-term plan to "Qatarize" the media. Eight Qatari graduates of the Faculty of Media this year are now working for four newspapers.
The ministry will also allow Qatari employees in institutions other than the media or government who work part-time in the media to work full time and retain their government salaries.