The Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF) has launched in collaboration with Qatar University and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) a research plan, the first of its kind in the GCC region, to research the Qatari media landscape. A press release the DCMF issued here Tuesday said the research aims to study the extent to which Qatar’s media environment ensures freedom of expression, plurality and diversity of media using UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators (MDIs). The MDI methodology was endorsed in 2008 by the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication. The MDI framework covers all aspects of the media environment and is structured around five categories: 1. Regulation; 2. Plurality and diversity of the media; 3. Media as a platform for democratic discourse; 4. Professional capacity building; and 5. Infrastructural capacity. MDI assessments have been conducted in Arab countries such as Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia but it will be the first of its kind in the GCC region. Dr Mahmoud M. Galander, Associate Professor and Acting Chair of the Department of Mass Communication at Qatar University said that “Qatar is emerging as one of the most vibrant countries in the region; and as the prominence of Qatar in international politics is on the rise, it becomes important to monitor and evaluate the state and performance of its media in such a period”. Earlier on 9 and 10 November 2012, DCMF organised in collaboration with UNESCO a workshop to train 7 researchers from Qatar University’s Mass Communication Department in applying the MDI framework. The training was conducted by Steve Buckley, a media specialist with worldwide experience in media policy, media reform advocacy and media development who led the MDI assessment in Tunisia. UNESCO was represented by Saorla McCabe, who has coordinated UNESCO’s MDIs applications in selected countries around the world and took part in the organisation of the international consultation that led to the development and endorsement of the MDIs.