Dubai, Sep 26 (UNI) Media in the UAE has won a crucial battle as the government ordered that jounalists in the country should not be jailed for doing their duty.
The announcement was made by Shaikh Abdullah, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the National Media Council (NMC) in Abu Dhabi on a directive from the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Earlier this week Mr CG Prem Chandran, former Indian Editor of the prominent English daily Khaleej Times and an Egyptian reporter were sentenced to two months jail in a defamation case filed by an Iranian woman.
Mr CG Premachandran, who now works as a senior editor with the same daily Times and reporter Mohsin Rashid were allowed by the court yesterday to appeal the verdict and as such escaped going to jail.
Mr Premchandran said the announcement is a victory for press freedom.
Shaikh Mohammad issued instructions that no journalist is to be jailed for reasons related to his work, adding that there are other actions that may be taken against journalists who break the press and publication law, but not jail, the UAE news agency WAM reported.
''Shaikh Mohammad has also issued instructions to the Cabinet to speed up the necessary steps to issue the new publication law in the light of the amendments made by the NMC after consulting concerned authorities'', said Shaikh Abdullah, the NMC Chairman.
The media which did not protest the jail sentence of the journalists however was quick to welcome the ruling by Shaikh Mohammed.
''The directive reflects Mohammed's keenness to provide best working conditions for the Media'', the Gulf News said in an editorial.