Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Bahrain to Adopt New Press, e-Media Law | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, left, smiles as he welcomes Gulf Cooperation Council leaders, not pictured, prior to the GCC summit in Sekhir, Bahrain, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012. The kings son Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa stands at right. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Manama – The Kingdom of Bahrain is heading towards the adoption of a new press and e-media law that would preserve the rights of journalists and media persons and would criminalize whoever assaults a journalist.

During a Cabinet session held earlier this week, Bahrain’s ministers discussed a draft press and e-media Law that would replace Law 47/2002 on the Organization of the Press, Printing and Publishing.

Bahraini Minister of Information Affairs Ali Al-Rumeihi told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the new law would guarantee press and media freedoms in line with ethical and professional standards.

He added that the new law also provides a legal protection for all those who work in the media sector.

Al-Rumeihi also stressed the ministry’s continuous efforts to keep pace with latest developments and technologies in the media sector.

The draft law regulates electronic media of media outlets. It stipulates that no journalist or media person shall be remanded in custody on being accused of the crimes mentioned in the bill.

The bill also criminalizes any person or entity that assaults a journalist, a media person or a correspondent because of their work, and inflicts on them the same punishment inflicted on assaulting an on-duty public servant.

The draft law, highlighted in the Information Affairs Minister’s presentation, tackles the organization of press, printing and publishing and the issuance of newspapers and e-papers.

The bill was referred to the Ministerial Committee for Social Services, Communication and Media, under the chairmanship of Bahrain’s Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Bahraini Journalists Association, Moaness Al-Mardi, said that the new law would push forward the Bahraini media and press sector, hoping that it would be enacted before the end of 2017.