Al Jazeera Celebrates World Press Freedom Day
Al Jazeera Media Network held a stand on Tuesday, May 3rd, in celebration of World Press Freedom Day. The stand was attended by a number of colleagues, managers and officials at Al Jazeera, as well as representatives from the United Nations, international organizations and the former Tunisian President, Moncef Marzouki. During the stand, pictures of journalists who had lost their lives in the line of duty were held.
Khaled Johar, the then Al Jazeera Media Network’s Acting Director General, stressed that since its inception in 1996, Al Jazeera has continuously called for press freedom and access to information. He urged regional and international organizations that support press freedom, to support “The World Declaration for Journalists Protection”, an initiative drafted by Al Jazeera in collaboration with the International Press Institute (IPI) and other partners.
Dr. Obaid Ahmed, the United Nations Regional Director for Human Rights, said the annual stand reaffirms the principle of freedom of expression and the people’s right to access information. It is also an occasion to honor the journalists who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
Yaser Abuhilalah, Al Jazeera Arabic’s Managing Director, elaborated on the challenges encountered by the channel since its launch; the latest of which was the shutting down of its bureau in Baghdad. He restated the channel’s editorial policy and reaffirmed the channel’s commitment to reporting the stories of the oppressed and voiceless. He also pointed out that the Arab region is one of the most dangerous areas in the world for journalists.
Mohammed Saad Al-Rumaihi, Al Jazeera’s Acting Manager of Communications, said that Al Jazeera will always honor its colleagues who were killed in the quest for truth in the world’s hot spots and war zones. He also reminded international organizations and officials around the world to act on their legal and ethical responsibilities towards protecting journalists and respecting freedom of expression, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Al-Rumaihi also stressed Al Jazeera’s solidarity with all imprisoned journalists around the world, and called for their immediate release and for international organizations to put pressure on the involved countries to conduct serious investigations into crimes committed against journalists.