Qatar News Agency (QNA) launched the world’s first social news network, Maydan Qatar, as part of its commitment to supporting the state’s vision of creating a knowledge economy.

The Maydan Qatar network was launched in Beta (testing) format by HE Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, at an event at the Sharq Village Hotel, which was attended by over 150 dignitaries from the media, technology and government sectors.

Maydan Qatar is built on KnowledgeView Publish live technology, and aims to build a vibrant community of users around well-tagged local content that promotes economic and social growth in Qatar as part of the National Vision for 2030. The network will build a community by:

  • Creating a platform that allows users to socialise around news and prime content
  • Providing the largest aggregator of local news
  • Creating prime content by a team of information professionals

It plans to achieve these aims through innovative technology that will bring curated content to its users domestically and internationally, both in Arabic and English, providing links to Qatari economic, social, cultural, sports and geopolitical developments.

Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, HE DrHamad Al Kuwari, said:

Qatar is building a knowledge economy that invests heavily in human capital, and media has an important role to play in providing up to date and easily accessible information and news. Having created the first Arabic language news satellite station with Al Jazeera, Qatar has now achieved another first with the launching of Maydan Qatar as the world’s first social news network.’

Director General of QNA, Ahmed Al Buainain, added that Maydan Qatar will be available for free to all internet users, and will transform the way residents receive news. He said:

The QNA is delighted to launch this project as it will offer the country a host of benefits in support of the QNV 2030 and creation of a knowledge economy. By having a one stop shop for all news and events information, everyone living in Qatar or with an interest in our country will have customised, easy and free access to prime content. This creates a very exciting opportunity for an exchange of ideas on a national level.’

Results from a research project carried by QNA out in January 2014 show that 89% of those polled consider it important or useful to have one primary content hub for news and events in Qatar.

Maydan Qatar will be available on multi-platforms, via the web and mobile devices.It will be the largest local news aggregator in Qatar and will provide a boost to existing news organisations by increasing visitors to their website by maximizing user interaction. Maydan Qatar is built using KnowledgeView Publish live technology. The interface of the network is a result of more than ten years of research and development undertaken by KnowledgeView, in line with the European Union’s Information Society 2000 initiative and with media companies globally.

CEO and Founder of KnowledgeView, Ali Al Assem, remarked that a key differentiator for Maydan Qatar is its scope for customisation. He said:

Maydan Qatar provides users with a customised aggregation of local Qatari news and continual enhancement of prime content and events updates paired to a geolocator. It also creates customisable pages and knowledge communities enabling users to communicate with others reading the same news and events content. This feature can’t be found on other social media platforms.’

Users will be able to sign up using other social media accounts to create profiles making getting started a seamless process. The beta version of the Maydan Qatar will add new features over the coming weeks prior to product finalisation.