Minister of Information Affairs Isa bin Abdulrahman Al Hammadi said here yesterday that Bahrain respects freedom of expression and the key role played by mass media in raising social awareness and providing public with accurate information. He added that the move to upgrade the regulations in this sector aims at laying a sound basis for mass media to exercise their role effectively and legally.Speaking at the post-Cabinet press briefing, the minister stressed that freedom of expression is guaranteed in Bahrain and those regulations will not encroach upon it. But they rather aim at boosting efficiency of mass media as the law will define irregularities clearly as well as procedures taken in this respect.
Al Hammadi noted that the criteria would be complementary to the Press and Publication Law until the new law is issued. The Minister said the regulations pertain to media institutions licensed by the government. He added that further details would be disclosed as soon as the Cabinet approves regulations.The Minister also pointed out that there are other laws in Bahrain concerning the use of social networking websites.
Moving on to the issue of axing meat subsidy, Al Hammadi clarified that the pre-implementation phase of the decision includes registering families wishing to benefit from cash payouts. The Social Development Ministry had announced commencement of registration through available means such as websites, mobile phone applications and eight social centres across Bahrain, he added. Figures disclosed recently show that 132,000 families have already registered. The minister also pointed out that the decision to lift subsidy on meat will be in effect by October.
To queries regarding formation of a smaller Cabinet and its repercussions on the quality of services, the Minister asserted that providing people in Bahrain with optimum services within available resources has always been and will remain top priority for the government.
He also pointed out that forming a smaller Cabinet was not on yesterday’s agenda of the ministerial council.