BAHRAIN'S commitment to Press freedom is a stepping stone towards creating a hub for regional and international media. It follows Manama being named Capital of Arab Press for 2012 and the country hosting the fourth Arab Youth Media Forum for the first time.
The two-day pan-Arab event was attended by top Arab media figures, officials and diplomats, at the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea and Spa.
It is being held under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad and was opened yesterday in the presence of Supreme Council for Youth and Sport chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, ministers and media figures from the Arab world.
Shaikh Nasser expressed His Majesty's dedication to making Bahrain a hub for the media and providing the right atmosphere for all creative professionals.
The forum has placed Bahrain on the world media map and the recognition is a "source of pride", said Information Affairs Authority president Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa during the opening ceremony.
"Bahrain seeks to upgrade standards, organise and expand the horizons of freedoms of the media and attract leading media corporations to its Media City," added Shaikh Fawaz.
The forum discussed issues in connection with media in the Arab world and its evolution, and it ends today.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera news anchor Tunisian Mohammed Krichen said it was the perfect time for Bahrain's media to reflect arguments made by all sides of the community.
"This is a great honour for Bahrain to be the Arab Press Capital but the government and people should now be committed to Press freedom," he told the GDN.
"It's time the Bahrain Press reflected plurality of opinions that will boost its credibility and at the same time build trust and confidence."
Mr Krichen was presented with the Best Arab TV Presenter award and he was among many figures who were honoured during the opening ceremony.
They included Al Arabiya director-general Abdulrahman Al Rashid who won the award for the most pioneering media figure in the Arab world.
Editor-in-chief of Forbes Middle East magazine Jordanian Khuloud Al Omian will also be honoured with the best Arab woman media figure.
The forum will also posthumously honour late Al Jazeera cameraman Ali Hassan Jaber, who was killed in Libya last year, with the Fadel Shana Award for Press photographer.