Gulf media urged to defend GCC

Gulf media urged to defend GCC
Updated 18 April 2013

Gulf media urged to defend GCC

Gulf media urged to defend GCC

Mainstream and new media organizations in the Gulf should defend and promote the interests of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) against unwarranted and false domestic and foreign attacks, it was stressed at the fourth Gulf Press Association (GPA) conference in Manama on Tuesday.
“Media have now become an increasingly dangerous weapon more than at any other time in the past. We need to strengthen this weapon to defend our national achievements and to counter all regional and international challenges,” Bahrain’s Minister of State for Information Affairs and government's official spokesperson Samira Rajab said in her inaugural address at the conference.
Rajab called on media houses to shape domestic and international public opinion with regard to the GCC's vision and interests in an objective manner while covering reports. “They should also disprove false reports being circulated about the region and correct public opinion,” the minister said.
She added that Bahrain has particularly been a victim of false and misleading media reports, and said the country has the right to defend itself against such reporting.
“It is the responsibility of media representatives, more than ever, to support their governments because now the battles are not only about economies, but new wars are being waged regionally and internationally with media playing a substantial role,” she said.
In his address, Secretary General of the GPA Nasser Al-Othman reiterated the support of the association for the people and government of Bahrain, to maintain the country’s stability and security and safeguard its Arab and Islamic identity.
He hoped that Bahrain's national dialogue would help it achieve greater progress and stability.
GPA President Turki bin Abdullah Al-Sudairy reminded journalists of their heavy responsibility to safeguard the stability of Gulf communities. He said some countries resented the economic growth in the region and have been striving to disrupt its security and safety.
“Media freedom does not imply endangering the people’s future, safety and stability, or promoting chaos.
It means the reasonable employment of ideas to serve the people and ensure their progress,” Al-Sudairy said.
In his address, Chairman of the Council of Gulf International Relations (COGIR) and President of the Arab Society for Press and Media Freedom Tariq Al-Shamri, said Gulf media houses need to determine their priorities, which are poles apart from those of the Western media.
During the meeting, the COGIR declared President of the Arab Press Association Ahmed Yusuf Bahbahani, who is also chairman of the Kuwaiti Journalists' Society, as the Gulf Media Personality of 2013. The late Omani journalist Eisa Al-Zadjali was announced the winner of the COGIR Press Pen Prize of 2013. The GPA awarded Rajab a medal for her services to Bahrain and the Media Affairs Commission.
The GPA also re-elected Al-Sudairy as its president and Al-Othman as its secretary-general. It also elected members of its general secretariat. Membership has increased to 14, with two representatives from each member country including Yemen.