New clamp on suspension of newspapers
Manama, March 3, 2010
Newspapers in Bahrain can't be suspended or have their licences revoked without a court order, MPs have decided.
They also agreed that since newspapers are self-managed and financially independent, they can't be censored unless in extreme cases where there is a violation to the relevant laws or the Constitution.
However, newspapers are responsible for ensuring their coverage and criticisms are within 'respectable limits' or else legal action could be taken, they said.
The MPs said that the truthful coverage and criticism were subjective and have to be further determined through the new Press law discussed by parliament yesterday.
The services committee now has two weeks to come up with articles that define both terminologies.
Parliament also voted on an article deeming any journalist or correspondent as independent, but regulated under the new law.
The principles of journalism and professional work ethics will be determined by the Journalist Vocational Authority to be formed under the law.
The authority will comprise journalists and legal advisers, who will draw up by-laws to organise and regulate journalists' rights.
Parliament backed the law in principle last week and MPs plan to complete discussions by this month, before referring it to the Shura Council for review.
Meanwhile, MPs rejected a proposal by Al Wefaq member Jalal Fairooz to remove any reference to the penal code from the law, saying that parliament had agreed last week that journalists wouldn't face criminal charges.-TradeArabia News Service