Sunday, 17 March 2013

Al Jazeera forum calls for more press freedom in the Arab world

IHSAN YOUSSEF

DOHA-PRE-FORUM workshops and symposia leading up to the seventh Al Jazeera Forum began on Saturday with a focus on the protection of journalists and media freedom.

The seventh Al Jazeera Forum will be held under the theme ' Arab world in transition: challenges and opportunities with a highlight on the Syrian crisis and the issues of responsibility of journalists and media.

Speaking on the sidelines of the forum, Egyptian information Minister Salah Abdulmaqsood pointed out the reality of the media in the light of the current changes in the Arab world.

He said: "the Egyptian revolution has an unprecedented level of media freedoms in the country." He pointed out that the most important consequences of the popular revolution in Egypt was a boost to media freedoms, leading to the creation of 59 newspapers after the revolution along with dozens of private channels by Egyptian or Arab investors led.

The Government spokesman Mustafa al Khalafi and Moroccan communication Minister noted that the Morocco Constitution guarantees that the freedom of the press will not be subject to censorship.

He shed light on a government mechanism, that media freedom and responsibility under the umbrella of constitutional framework would combine. The Minister for the formation of an audio visual communication authority as examples.

Speakers at the session titled ' ensure professional standards, ethics and rules in a changing environment ' outlined how to regulate the activities of private companies if there are germs of television channels in the Middle East and North Africa.

Fawzi Beshra, consultant of quality control and editorial standards management on Al Jazeera network, said: "prior to the rise of the Arab spring, media used to be controlled by the authorities.

Governments used to the activities of all media institutions. At that time there was harmony between media and authorities. " He noted that the recent independence of the media by the Government has promoted objective analysis and reporting of political actions by the media.

He stresses that free media only in democratic communities can flourish, citing examples of the spring of the Arab countries.

"Free media is an automatic production of free political environment.

Media is a common expression that should not be controlled by the Government, "he said.

The program will continue on Sunday with a session that is held under the theme ' Rising powers ' with Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah, former Iranian Minister of culture and Islamic guidance Ata'ollah Mohajerani, Turkish member of Parliament and former senior Erdogan Adviser Bob Isler and Egyptian Liberal leader Ayman Nour.

The role of new and emerging powers will the highlight of the discussion during the all day seminar organised by the Al Jazeera Center for Studies.

The challenges for some countries after the Arab spring will be discussed.

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