On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day that is marked every year on May 3, the American Ambassador to Kuwait Alina Romanowski organized a virtual Ramadan gathering for representatives of local newspapers, reports Aljarida daily. She indicated that she wanted to organize an actual “Ghabqa” at her residence, but due to the curfew and the need to adhere to the social distancing policy, the gathering was instead organized via Zoom. Ambassador Romanowski elaborated on the role of the press around the world particularly in Kuwait. She said, “A year and a few months have passed since I came to Kuwait, and I want to salute the courage of the press and journalists in Kuwait, which is considered the most open country in the region. It must maintain its leading position in the issue of the freedom of press.” The ambassador thanked the journalists for being true partners of the US Embassy in Kuwait for many years.
She said, “The United States is fully committed to the freedom of expression. The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken last Sunday issued a statement regarding this matter, emphasizing the importance of transparency and credibility enjoyed by journalists to enhance the role of democracy in their countries”. The attendees touched on the role of the press around the world particularly in Kuwait, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, highlighting the importance of the press having transparency and credibility, which will enhance their democratic role in civilized countries.
The participants stressed the importance of the role that media plays, and its reflection on the society, affirming that the press does not manifest itself in one specific topic, but rather addresses several issues, the most important of which is the issue of human rights, health and cultural affairs. Participants also drew attention to the difference between social media and press media. They unanimously agreed that “newspapers still hold greater confidence than other media, despite their speed in publishing the news.
This is because before publishing any news, newspapers check several sources and explore various depths to ensure the information is correct, especially due to the negative repercussions resultant from fake news and rumors.” It is worth mentioning that the American ambassador posted a Twitter message on this occasion, saying, “I salute the women and men journalists of Kuwait for relentlessly reporting news.” Concerning the World Press Freedom Day, it was established in 1993 when the UN General Assembly proclaimed May 3 as World Press Freedom Day based on a recommendation adopted at the 26th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991.
It serves as an occasion to inform citizens about the violations of press freedom. It is a reminder that publications and social media are censored, fined, and suspended, and journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked and even killed worldwide. The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, which is “Information as a Public Good”, serves as a call to affirm the importance of cherishing information as a public good, exploring what can be done in the production, distribution and reception of content to strengthen journalism, and advancing transparency and empowerment while leaving no one behind. The theme is of urgent relevance for all countries across the world, as it recognizes the change in communication system that is impacting our health, human rights, democracies, and sustainable development.