Dubai: The two major competing lists of the UAE Journalists Association's new board, which will be elected this Thursday, will focus on boosting the role of the association in the society.

Some 314 active members of the JA's general assembly will convene to elect a two-year new board at the Dubai Municipality's Club in Al Garhoud.

The current chairman Mohammad Yousuf will lead the first list mean while writer and journalist Nasser Al Daheri will head the rival list.

"We have completed our list of candidates and this year elections we are bringing two dynamic and young journalists with us. Our main focus is to develop the new media code of ethics, defending journalists and supporting them to carry out their job properly and professionally besides enabling the JA to play a pivotal role," Yousuf told Gulf News on Monday.

Meanwhile, his rival Al Daheri said: "So far we have six candidates on our list which is still open for three more. We want the JA to become a lively association and stimulate its interaction with the members. We also aim to develop its current website."

Yousuf added: "We don't have to give any promises especially that we announced our programme in 2004 and we have completely achieved our goals. For the coming elections we will work on preserving our achievements."

Ebrahim Al Thahili, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Asfar magazine, denied he is running for the elections 'as one of the online newspapers claimed' and explained: "I am a disinterested party who tried to convince the rival lists to unite under one list of candidates in order to put an end to the unethical and unacceptable war of words which has been taking place on websites and blogs."

JA members are expected to arrive to cast their ballots from 7.00pm onwards as the general assembly kicks off at 7.30pm.

During the general assembly, members will discuss the management of the association, last year's budget, annual report, annual activities and related topics on the agenda.

The nomination will remain open until the general assembly.

The JA's administrative report (dated until December 31, 2007) said September 25 of each year will be celebrated as the UAE's Press Freedom Day especially since His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai instructed not to jail journalists in the line of their duties. It also contained a brief on the court cases filed against journalists in the UAE.