HM the King's speech on the International Day for Press Freedom
May 2, 2012
His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Monarch of the Kingdom of Bahrain, delivered the following speech on the occasion of the International Day for Freedom of the Press: ((We are delighted on the occasion of the international day for freedom of the press to convey our utmost compliment and appreciation to the press and media family in the Kingdom of Bahrain for their sincere efforts in developing the spirit of citizenship, conslidating the values of freedom, democracy and human rights and supporting reform plans and comprehensive susainable development. We emphasize our pride in pioneers of Bahraini journalism who took on their shoulders the task of construction of modern Bahraini media on foundations of diversity, mulitiplicity and credibility, and we appreciate objective free writers and honest genuine patriotic voices and creative media cadres who placed the Kingdom of Bahrain’s interest, progress and prosperity above any material, ideological or sectarian consideations. The progress and blossoming of the freedom of the press constitutes an indicator of our strategic reform project and sustainability of development and civilizational accomplishments. There should be no tampering with the right of Bahraini citizens in expressing their opinions, nor any celings put on their freedoms or creativity apart from professional consciousness, national and ethical responsbilitiies and observance of the people’s unity and national interest in compliance with the Constitution and the Law. We are also delighted as we commemorate under the slogan of: (New voices: contribution of a free press in community change) this year’s celebratin which coinicides with the selection of Manama as the Capital of Arab Press for the Year 2012 commensurate with positive changes taking place in our local community in line with our reformative project over the past ten years in terms of consolidation of the rule of law, political reforms and constitutional amdnding and media and cultural breakthrough. We are fully and constantly supportive of the rights of journalists, writers and media personnel and organizations as they carry out their noble mission without any threat or molestation. We do not and will not tolerate throughout our reign any insulting, arresting or jailing of a journalist as a result of exercising her/his legal and constitutional right of free expression. All media platfroms are and do remain open for everybody in view of their remarkable role in orientation, supervision and accountability and in preservation of cultural and ideological diversity in our community and the right to criticise and the right to differ as well. We confirm that media freedoms are ushering into a more advanced phase of diversity, indepdendence and respecting of opinion and couter-opinion since the Government has implemented the views of the National Consensus Dialogue and implmented the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) the most important of which is the endorsement of constitutional amenmdnets by the legislative authority and development of laws and legislations which boost the freedom of opinion and expression, in compliance with highest international standards in this respect. We especially laud the initiatives of the Information Affairs Authority towards developing media legislations, boosting common national values, developing human resources and radio and TV programs, intention to establish an advanced media production city, encouragement for investments in the media arena, under an ambitious strategic plan to boost the values of respect and compliance with top quality, creative media performance in accordance with applicable principles of credibility, freedom, justice and competitiveness. We instruct both the executive and the legislative authorities to follow up the implementation of these developmental projects, coordiante in endorsement of an overall advanced law for the audio-visual, written and electronic Bahraini media comprising the establishing of the Supreme Council for the Media, enhancing the professional role of an independent press, publicaiton and media, protecting the rights of journalists and the community, under transparency, and the right to circulation of information and responsible freedom, to keep abreast of mammoth transformations taking place in telecommunications technology. We also confirm the patriotic and developmental role of the press as well as the importance of compliance from all journalists and media people with the principles of the Journalists Professional Ethics Charter, the unity of the body of journalists and media people, and we wish the Bahraini Journalists Association and the Foreign Correspondents Club success and good luck in their mission in serving the aspirations of the media circles. Our reformative project shall always require a sincere, free speech and constructive ideas which boost consciousness and cultural identity in our homeland as we seek more reforms and development –not destruciton or vandalism – emanating from our keennes on serving the best interest of our country and citizens, inviting for tolerance and national unity – neither divisionism nor hatred – portaying of true facts and compliance with professional media ethics and morals – not propagating lies or falsehoods nor derogation of feats and reforms which have been accomplished. These are really the sensible voices worthy of Bahrain – not phony rhetoric or crisis perpetrating voices. It is quite clear that the Kingdom of Bahrain has been targeted by purposefull, willful campaigns through some foreign media which sought to distort true facts, instigate violence, sabotage, hatred and hostility among citizens in our united nation and this contravenes against all religious teachings, moral ethics and interntional treaties and conventions as these campaigns which propgated false opinions and relied on one-sided and biased sources devoid of any accuracy and credibility and which marginalized the rest of Bahraini public opinion. As the Kingdom of Bahrain commemorates the International Day for the Freedom of the Press, we uphold the principles of the Windhoek Declaration which called for a free, independent and diversified media, and renew our invitation to all media organizations from all over the world to observe honesty and credibility and to be subjective and neutral and to support dialouge, peaceful co-existence among all civilizations and cultures and we are looking forward to seeing the interntional community as it takes decisive actions to halt any destructive provocation of divisionism, hostitlity or hatred and prevent or instigation of violence or terrorism for the sake of ensuring a better world where security, stability and prosperity prevail. We supplicate to Allah Almighty to help everyone of us to achieve the best interest of the Kingdom of Bahrain, continue with development, progress, democracy and rights in order to fulfill the aspirations of our dear citizens in terms of a modernized propserous Kingdom. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Monarch of the Kingdom of Bahrain)). (IY)