Dubai: The Journalists Association has decided to celebrate UAE Press Freedom Day on September 25, following a high-level decision made on this day not to jail journalists doing their job.
Journalists now can do their job without the fear of being jailed, said the outgoing chairman of the association, adding that this a major development for the media in the UAE.
"We have every right to be proud to have reached this point in our professional lives," Mohammad Yousuf, the association's outgoing chairman told media persons who attended Thursday's election of the new board.
"It makes us [the outgoing board] and every journalist feel proud of the decision by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, not to imprison reporters for doing their job.
"We deem this as a major achievement for the association members and the media."
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the National Media Council, made the announcement last year.
He said according to the instructions no journalist is to be jailed for reasons related to the mediaperson's work, adding that there are other measures that may be taken against journalists who break the press and publication law.
When the floor was open to discuss reports at the board meeting, Emirati journalist Dr Aisha Al Nuaimi, said: "The board met with the editors-in-chief of a number of newspapers and finalised the code of ethics as a reaction to Shaikh Mohammad's decision. They should have discussed the code with the general assembly before accepting it."
Yousuf replied that the code of ethics was initiated by the editors-in-chief and that the board signed it.
"It does not obligate the general assembly members to abide by it," he said.
The association members cast their votes before the general assembly meeting at the Dubai Municipality Club in Garhoud.