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Press Freedom, Beating Heart of the Reform Project, HM King Hamad says
12 : 44 AM - 03/05/2011
Manama - May 02 (BNA) -- His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa has today reiterated Bahrain’s firm commitment to promote freedom of opinion–being a cornerstone of the reform and development momentum. He made the pledge as Bahrain joins the other nations in marking the World Press Freedom Day tomorrow (May3). He paid tribute to media cadres in Bahrain and all brotherly and friendly countries in the world. "The press freedom has and will always be the beating heart of our reform project in the framework of political, cultural and intellectual pluralism", he said.
He stressed the right to different and diverse opinions, constructive and objective criticism, without encroaching on others’ rights and personal liberties, flouting ethical precepts and professional norms in an era of responsible freedom and comprehensive reforms. He described free, honest and independent press as a key pillar of the democratic development, a basic human right and an active partner in protecting national security and stability. He also hailed the crucial role of the fourth estate in spearheading the march of economic development and construction, stressing its professional and ethical responsibility in fostering social unity, and promoting love and harmony between citizens. HM the King seized the annual event to pay tribute to loyal Bahrainis working in media institutions and the Information Affairs Authority for assuming their duties during the recent deplorable incidents which gripped Bahrain, hailing their genuine patriotic feelings and responsible stances in support of Bahrain’s security and stability. He also lauded their mobilization to protect Bahrain’s social fabric, the rule of the law and the constitutional legitimacy, stressing their resolve to project the truth, thus debunking any defamatory campaigns orchestrated by the foreign media, proved flagrantly one-sided, partial and subjective in covering Bahrain’s situation, based on deceptive information. The World Press Freedom Day 2011 is being held under the theme "21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers". HM King Hamad hailed the annual event which coincides this year with the 20th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, which was signed in Namibia in 1991, laying the foundations and basics of press freedom in the world. He voiced his aspirations for truly responsible international media which commit to impartiality. integrity and independence. He also stressed the need for the fourth estate to promote the values of fraternity and tolerance, without any discrimination or segregation, build the bridges of peace and dialogue between the followers of all religions, cultures and civilisations. HM King Hamad appealed to written, audio-visual and online mass media to abide by professional and humanitarian conscience and avoid inciting hatred, hostility and rancor for racial, nationalistic, religious or sectarian reasons and designs. He also stressed the need to avoid using the media platforms in inciting violence, sabotage, terror, non-respect of laws, public decency, people’s dignity. He expressed the hope that all parties would respect the code of professional journalism in line with international conventions and pacts. He paid tribute to Bahrain Journalists Association, lauding its commitment to protect the rights of journalists to express their opinions without any constraints and threats. He also laud the BJA firm keenness to unify journalists in Bahrain under the banner of national belonging, respect of the ethical and professional mission in the framework of commitment to national and constitutional fundamentals. HM the King also hailed the role of the Foreign Correspondent Club,, the Gulf Press Union and other GCC and Arab media, the international press organisations, such as the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Council of Gulf International Relations (COGIR) for understanding the true circumstances in Bahrain and voicing honourable stances in support of its security, stability and fledgling democracy and development experience. While taking pride in the atmosphere of media openness and the freedom allowing Bahrainis to exercise their liberties without constraints or barriers, HM King Hamad said he was looking forward to the legislature’s approval of developed laws warranting the freedom of the press, audio-visual media and regulating electronic journalism. "The freedom of the press and media will always remain a cornerstone of the reform and modernization project" HM King Hamad said, assuring all journalists that their liberties and constitutional rights would always be protected. "No one will be harmed for expressing his opinion in peaceful and civilised manner, in the framework of the rule of the law and the state institutions", he pledged.


BNA 2044 GMT 2011/05/02

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