Today marks the annual commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day. This occasion of course is not a celebration, not by any means, but is an occasion for all of us to reflect about what dear price journalists and opinion writers pay to bring us news and thoughts which makes us more aware of the world around us, and even allow us to make informed decisions. And for that, they generally get kidnapped and imprisoned. It is unfortunate too that the Arab world in particular seems to be the most hostile to not just the basic human right of freedoms of expression, but to other personal freedoms too via restrictions imposed by rulers cloaking their discriminatory decisions with religious dogma and shroud them with the need to preserve our culture.
In Bahrain, our king repeatedly came out in support of press freedoms, while the very law that he promulgated in 2002 is still used to silence and criminally penalise journalists, the cases against whom I am told now average at least one case a week brought against them for libel or any of the plethora of other charges, all designed to silence criticism or to seemingly try to force the aura of respect (or probably subordination) to public officials’ and their positions, refusing to collectively recognise the power of good that a free and responsible media could enact in communities and countries.
To commemorate this day, I shall put my hand firmly with those in the Bahraini press today and stand with them at a token demonstration in front the parliament building this afternoon at 5pm. I shall also remember Alan Johnston and Kareem Sulaiman and their like and extend them my thanks for their courage in speaking their mind and doing their job.