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Arabian Business Blames Migrants for Qatar’s Image

On August 30, 2013

Migrant Rights encourages writers, journalists, and artists to responsibly report and discuss Gulf migration issues. In particular, media reports tends to mock abuses against migrants and to reproduce a common discourse that puts the blame on migrants.

In a story published on August 19, Arabian Business blames migrants for ‘lowering’ Qatar’s international image. The first line of the story reads: “Uneducated migrant workers are downgrading Qatar’s international image by impacting its score in the United Nations’ human development index.” The article does not specify Qatar's dependency on its migrant workforce for infrastructure and development, nor does it mention that the poor conditions migrants face account for a much worse image of the state.

The post comes just one day after Arabian Business reported on the death of an Indian worker crushed to death in a work accident. The report mentions the ‘increasing concerns’ of the conditions works in Qatar face, but failed to include any of the readily availablestatistics on the number of deaths among workers in construction sites or the instances of forced labor. The publication does not adopt a tone that acknowledges what workers face in Qatar especially those who work in extreme conditions preparing for the 2022 World Cup tournament.

The report states “Qatar would rank as among the top developed countries in the world, alongside Norway, if its significant migrant population...was eliminated from the country’s HDI,” essentially rendering invisible the 94% of the population comprised by migrants. This exclusion is furthermore embedded in the rhetoric of the article and the study, which refers to migrants as “guest workers,” a term used by Gulf states to reinforce migrants' temporary status and to circumvent international obligations to migrant workers.