Bahrain’s new media draft law being reviewed

Information Affairs Authority Bahrain
Information Affairs Authority (IAA) Legal Advisor Shaikha Noora bint Khalifa Al Khalifa has asserted that the comprehensive media draft law is being studied by the Ministerial Committee for Legal Affairs’ subsidiary technical Committee so as to reach the ideal formula that guarantees freedom, pluralism and independence of mass media as well as protect social rights and the supreme national interest.

She explained that the IAA Legal Affairs Committee discussed with the subsidiary committee today the media draft law which comes within the framework of IAA plan to carry out the recommendations of Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) and the national committee in charge of following up on the implementation of those recommendations, the National Consensus Dialogue visions and the recommendations of the French media experts regarding reforming the media sector and upgrading legislations, supervisory systems and professional criteria in consistence with Bahrain’s international human rights obligations.

She said that the comprehensive media draft law includes the integration of draft laws and ministerial resolutions prepared by IAA by amending law-decree number 47 for 2002 concerning the regulation of press and publication referred by the cabinet to the legislative power since May 2008, alongside other draft laws on the creation of the Supreme Media Council, the organization of audio-visual and electronic media and news bulletins.

Shaikha Noora underlines IAA commitment to boosting media and press freedom within the framework of pluralism and national responsibility as part of its obligations to reform the media sector and carry out BICI recommendations in this regard.

She revealed that the draft law cancelled criminal responsibility pertaining to publication crimes, including mainly imprisoning journalists, which will further promote press and media freedom. Meanwhile, the Supreme Media Council will have within its jurisdictions the imposition of disciplinary penalties and fines on those who break the law and infringe the profession’s ethics as well as the media honour charter.

She pointed out that the media draft law will bring about a quantum leap in the media sector by promoting competitiveness, creativity and quality.

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