Bahrain marks World Press Freedom Day with renewed commitment to credibility, responsibility

Kingdom of Bahrain joins the countries of the world in marking the World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) chose “journalism without fear or favour” as this year’s theme.

The theme asserts the importance of maintaining independent and professional journalism standards. It also addresses political, ideological or economic control and defamatory attacks on journalists, as stated in the message by UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay.

Bahrain takes pride in the history of its press throughout the decades. The constitutional guarantees for the freedom of press and expression are in line with the limitless support afforded by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister.

The vibrant scene of the press in Bahrain has seen the adaptation of tools to enhance information delivery in a professional and responsible manner. Modern technological trends have allowed more timely and diverse methods to achieve this.

This role of the local press has been further emphasised during the current times of dealing the Covid-19 pandemic. Journalists and other men and women in the media are supporting the national efforts by amplifying the messages bearing factual and unbiased information and awareness to the public.

Local media has also been actively involved in countering what the UNSECSO’s message described as “the infodemic of rumours and disinformation” and in highlighting the tireless efforts exerted by Bahrain in managing the situation.

The comprehensive development process launched by His Majesty the King gave so much room for free and responsible media that ran in parallel with the ever-widening political, economic and social openness. This golden era, unprecedented in the history of the Bahraini media, has provided a conducive environment for the press to assume its role as the fourth estate, supported by the principles of the National Action Charter and the Constitution of 2002.

His Majesty has fully supported the Bahraini press and appreciated its contributions to serving the community and preserving Bahrain’s development and civilizational gains.

His Majesty the King has dedicated a day to celebrate the achievements of Bahraini press and honour journalists in recognition of their status, noble messages and enhancement of Bahrain’s position on the Arab and international media map.

This is further evidence of HM the King’s full support for the Bahraini press and appreciation of the contributions of the Bahraini men and women in the media who are serving the community and preserving the Kingdom’s development and civilizational gains.

It is during this era that Bahrain has had its first association of journalists.

The establishment of the association was part of a boom in the active involvement of civil society organisations in public affairs. The Bahrain Journalists Association (BJA) takes upon the role of protecting journalists’ rights as well as providing them with training opportunities to empower their career development.

Bahraini women are strongly represented in the field of journalism, and media overall. They hold several senior and executive roles as well as 40% of specialised jobs, off and on screen and in other media related services.

The milestones achieved by Bahraini women in this sector saw a significant stride with the election of Ahdeya Ahmed as the president of BJA. She is also a member of the International Federation of Journalists’ (IFJ) Gender Council.