Law does not give journalists 'free rein'

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Dubai, Oct 3 (UNI) A new press law granting special privileges to the journalists does not give them immunity to write or publish anything, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said.

A new law approved by the UAE Cabinet protects journalists from imprisonment if they commit a mistake in the course of their work.

''Though the law replaced imprisonment with financial penalty, this does not mean that journalists can write and publish whatever they wish as they remain professionally and ethically bound to pursue accuracy and authenticity,'' Shaikh Mohammad said.

''Journalists have to rise to the trust put in them and communicate only honest and convincing information to the public,'' he added.

Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE received representatives of local, Arab and foreign media organisations, who offered their greetings on the occasion of Ramzan.

The media leaders expressed their appreciation of Shaikh Mohammad's support to the media and freedom of expression, citing the positive reaction to his decision from media circles worldwide.

Abdullah Rasheed, Executive Managing Editor of the local news of Al Ittihad daily, said ''This decision reflects Shaikh Mohammad's deep commitment to promote the press as a fourth estate.'' Mona Bu Samra, Secretary General of the Journalists Association, said the decision gives journalists more security and encourages them to pursue and raise issues freely, while committed to ethics of the profession.

Discussion also touched on the 'Dubai Cares' initiative launched by the Dubai ruler, which aims at putting one million children in poor countries around the world through primary school.


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