Qatar's government has backed new Internet codes that widen controls over news websites and online commentary after similar clampdowns by other Gulf Arab states, according to the Associated Press.

The measures would give authorities wide leeway to punish websites or social media users for items considered a threat to "state security" or the "general order".

It outlaws any news, video or other posts that violate the "sanctity'' of a person's private life, even if the report is true.

The official Qatar News Agency said on Thursday the draft law would now go to an advisory council for final approval.

Gulf Arab nations have sharply increased arrests over social media posts on charges that include insulting rulers.

Stronger media laws also have been placed in many Gulf countries as officials worry about growing opposition linked to the Arab Spring.

Source: Agencies