I’m deeply honoured to have won the Outstanding Contribution to New Media 2013 award presented by the International Council for Press and Broadcasting at the Oxford and Cambridge Club in London last night.

Mahmood Al-Yousif receiving the Outstanding Contribution to New Media award from the Council for Press and Broadcasting in London, UK. Picture courtesy of Alwasat Newspaper

Mahmood Al-Yousif receiving the Outstanding Contribution to New Media award from the Council for Press and Broadcasting in London, UK. From Left: Dalia Salaam Rishani (Member of the Board of Trustees, NCF, Council for Press & Broadcasting), Mahmood Al-Yousif, Ian Black (ME Editor, The Guardian). Picture courtesy of Alwasat Newspaper

Accepting the award last night, in the presence of so many people I admire from all around the region and beyond, I first and foremost thanked my wife Frances, without whose unstinting support and understanding I would never have persevered. I also specifically dedicated the award to all the harassed bloggers around the world who strive to provide us with reel, immediate and unfiltered content upon which intelligent men and women can form their informed opinions. The raw information they provide is key to bridging the various gaps and cultural differences which only seem to widen as time goes by. Their work, efforts and dedication should definitely be appreciated, and they should be supported in any way that could be offered.

I further dedicate this award to my friend Zakariya Alasheeri who has been cruelly murdered under torture in Bahrain. Zakariya was a gentle person who’s only “fault” was to voice his concerns and criticism of what is happening in his own country. He worked tirelessly to try to ameliorate the deepening sectarianism in Bahrain and cooperated with me to create and launch the very first Bloggers’ Code of Ethics. Something that is completely trampled in today’s Bahrain, unfortunately.

Another person I dedicate this award to is my friend Ali Abdulemam, who was compelled to go into hiding for two years before escaping from Bahrain for simply exercising his constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech.

We have a very long way to go, and an awful lot to repair in Bahrain. I can tell you that I shall continue to offer whatever I can to help my country move forward toward a more peaceful, equitable and embracing future. One where all can be proud to be her citizens. And one where uncertainty, fear, suspicion and hate have no refuge.

Thank you Next Century Foundation and the International Media Awards for bestowing the Outstanding Contribution to New Media award on me. I am immensely grateful for being selected this year and shall use its energy to progress peace and understanding in my tiny piece of potential Heaven.

[hr]

The International Media Council was established with NCF by journalists and opinion-formers to address concerns in the international media. The Council works to facilitate rights of access for journalists deals with problems faced by journalists ranging from imprisonment on one extreme to censorship on the other. The Council also deals with issues in relation to xenophobia and disinformation, and publishes a Media Ethics Code. The Council also grants annual international media awards for best practice.