Press 'is committed to the truth'
Manama, June 24, 2009
Circumstances surrounding the decision to suspend Bahrain's Arabic newspaper Akhbar Al Khaleej last Monday were revealed yesterday.
'We knew the reason. It was an article written by columnist Samira Rajab on the reality, truth and outcome of the Iranian revolutionary demagogues' mantra in Iran,' Akhbar Al Khaleej Editor-in-Chief Anwar Abdulrahman said.
He was speaking in an interview with Radio Monte Carlo journalist George Nawfal.
'The moment senior editors informed me of the decision to suspend the newspaper, I was sure of the reason,' he said.
He described his cordial conversation with Culture and Information Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa and other media officials.
'Being the editor-in-chief, I assumed full responsibility for choosing the title. I also read through the article word by word and approved it,' he said.
Asked whether the title was sensitive in Bahrain, Mr Abdulrahman said he found it rather 'too soft'.
'Akhbar Al Khaleej is a national, Gulf and Arab newspaper. Can we claim that the events in Iran do not amount to popular outrage? Can any media institution in the world downplay the popular rage and claim the opposite?'
'Popular anger against Iranian clerical theocracy has been brewing over the last three decades without abating,' he said.
Assessing the Iranian role over the last decades, he said the theocratic regime had failed lamentably to meet its people's aspirations.
He slammed the subversive role of Iran, causing great concerns for other countries, particularly the Arabian Gulf people.
He also defended Samira Rajab's news analysis, describing it as 'frank and honest', as it laid bare theocrats ruling Iran and exploiting the state in heinous ways.
'Being probably the only Arab editor-in-chief fluent in Persian, I am well aware of the Persians' situation, truth and mindset'.
He paid tribute to Samira Rajab for her commitment, saying that she addressed an open letter to all Arab journalists under the title 'What's happening in Iran?'