The Doha Debates

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The Doha Debates are a forum for free speech in Qatar and tackle the region's most controversial and topical issues. They are sponsored by Qatar Foundation and their broadcasting rights are sold to BBC World News where they are aired monthly, eight times a year.

In addition to BBC World News The Doha Debates are broadcast on MHz Networks and Channel 13 New York in the USA, GEO TV in Pakistan, TV BiH in Bosnia and Hertzegovina and the Real News Network in Canada and the USA. The total potential global audience for The Debates is over 350 million.

The Debates entered into their seventh series in October 2010.

How the Debates work

The Doha Debates are chaired by the award-winning, former BBC correspondent and interviewer Tim Sebastian, who founded them in 2004 and secured their editorial independence. No government, official body or broadcaster has any control over what is said at the sessions or who is invited.Televised eight times a year by BBC World News, the debates are based on a centuries-old format, refined by the famous Oxford Union. They focus on a single, controversial motion, with two speakers for and against. Once they have outlined their arguments, each speaker is questioned by the chairman and the discussion is then opened up to theaudience for argument and a final electronic vote.


The Doha Debates have become the Middle East’s forum of choice for many prominent statesmen. Special events – which feature Q&A sessions with a single guest – have...
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