His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa has reiterated support to journalists, and urged them to voice their stances against whoever seeks to tamper with national security and stability, or cast doubt on the Bahraini democracy.
He added that the next government action plan will meet the Bahraini people's needs and aspirations, including most and foremost security, which, he said, tops the citizens' demands following the "Grand Conspiracy" staged against the kingdom in 2011.
HRH Premier asserted that the next government blueprint, prepared by a committee chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, will achieve the citizens' living and service needs despite the global economic challenges.
"Security and economy are essential pillars of development, and I will not accept any negligence or failure in either of them under whatever pretexts," he said.
He underlined the government's keen interest to develop the performance and efficiency of its bodies and to consolidate commitment to transparency as an approach and a culture in all citizen-oriented efforts.
On executive-legislative relations, he expressed optimism in the Council of Representatives, and said that the two branches would, together, achieve a lot for the nation and the citizens.
"What we look forward is cooperation between the two constitutional branches in order to serve the country and its people, and not competition," he said, stressing that the fruit of bilateral cooperation will benefit Bahrain and its people.
He made the statements as he received at the Gudaibiya Palace today editors-in-chief of local newspapers, columnists and journalists, and reviewed with them a number of local and global issues.
HRH Premier welcomed the role played by the press in local affairs, and its keenness to assume its responsibilities in enlightening the public opinion and shaping national awareness.
He recalled with appreciation and pride the role of newspapers and columnists in recent parliamentary elections when they faced "desperate" boycott calls with utmost courage and patriotism. Their stance, he said, had a great impact in thwarting those calls and ensuring the success of the globally-acclaimed elections.
"Criticise my ministers, and me before them," he told the audience, noting that the government accepts journalists' "constructive criticism" based on its conviction that the goal is development and modernisation in every field.
"Therefore, we think that your criticism is driven by purely patriotic reasons and an assertion of your true belonging to this land, unlike those who tend to criticise for the sake of tarnishing the image of their nation abroad, which is totally rejected and denounced by the Bahraini society," he added.
"We have directed our ministers to interact positively with the press and to keep communication channels open to it out of our belief in the remarkable patriotic role the national press has played. It is a partner in the national achievements," he also said.
He stressed that Bahrain's status, security and dignity will not be undermined.
"Bahrain has been –and will remain - strong thanks to its loyal citizens," he said, voicing resolve to enhance the progress of the kingdom in the present and ensure a bright future for the coming generations.
He affirmed that all government efforts are directed towards the nation in order to protect it, promote its security and provide decent living for its people, lauding the patriotic stances demonstrated by Bahraini citizens, and their strong determination to defend the homeland and rally behind its leadership.
"The meeting with people from the press and media is a good opportunity to show them our appreciation of their stances through which they defended the nation and its achievements and enlightened society," he told the audience.
He lauded journalists and columnists, who had dedicated their articles to countering fallacies aiming to undermine the kingdom and smear its achievement record.
He called for the need to build an open economy, stressing that politics should by no means distract the government's nation-building process and progress efforts, highlighting the importance of striking a balance between the available resources and the expectations.
"We are in dire need of a fruitful cooperation with the legislative branch in order to accelerate Bahrain's growth and achieve the best for the citizens and residents," he said.
He stressed the need to protect the kingdom's innumerable achievements, and draw lessons from what had happened in other countries where the progress was halted.
"My door will remain open to journalists for the benefit of the citizens," he said, noting that he will spare no effort to support the citizens.
"What matter to us most are the citizens' welfare and security," he said.
HRH the Premier welcomed the journalists' ideas, visions and issues they raise for the sake of defending national interests, pledging every support.
"We share the same goal of advancing the nation and upgrading its status," he said.
HRH Premier urged journalists to continue tackling public opinion issues "objectively" so that their articles will become solid pillars for enhancing the national march in all fields.
HRH the Prime Minister lauded GCC countries' supportive stances towards Bahrain in different circumstances, stressing that they represent the kingdom's "strategic depth".
He emphasised that the region is currently facing increasing political, security and economic challenges that affect the kingdom. This requires all to join ranks in order to protect the kingdom and maintain its achievements, paying no heed to those seeking to derail the national progress, he said.
HRH Premier lauded the role played by Bahrain youth, being the "hope of the future".
"We will provide them with every kind of support and expect them to be dedicated in the service of the homeland," he said.