Qatar accused of censorship after Doha News website blocked
The website, which says it has a monthly readership of around one million, used an alternative domain name after the initial block on November 30, but this was eventually barred too.
"We can only conclude that our website has been deliberately targeted and blocked by Qatar authorities," Doha News said in a statement. "We are incredibly disappointed with this decision, which appears to be an act of censorship."
The website's owners also received no prior warning about concerns over content, the statement added. Government officials and the country's two internet service providers, Ooredoo and Vodaphone Qatar, have yet to comment.
Doha News published an article in August in which an anonymous writer spoke of some of the struggles of being gay in Qatar, where sodomy laws mean that homosexual acts are punishable by up to three years in prison.
The news website also carried an editorial in October that two months ago alleged that Qatar's Cyber Crimes Law was being used to "silence" people.
The move against Doha News goes against Qatar's reputation for media investment and the promotion of free press in the Middle East - most notably for its hosting and funding of the al-Jazeera news network.
Many social media users around the world have taken to Twitter to express their frustration at the blocking of Doha news, using the hashtag
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has criticised the move, calling it an "alarming setback for freedom of expression in the country".
"As the nation that founded the al-Jazeera media network and which hosts a centre dedicated to promoting global media freedom, Qatar should be at the forefront of those championing freedom of the press."