MANAMA — Saudi Journalists Association (SJA) and Bahrain Journalists Association (BJA) have signed a cooperation agreement that stipulates common training workshops, the development of journalism and media and greater investment in the expertise and competencies available in the two countries.
Bahraini Minister of Information Affairs Ali Al Romaihi welcomed the agreement as an important step towards greater integration and wider cooperation between journalists from the two countries and further advances towards higher standards and deeper sense of responsibility.
Al Romaihi lauded the special ties between the two kingdoms across all areas and praised the leading role of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, in protecting the security and stability of the region.
The agreement co-signed by BJA President Ahdeya Ahmed and SJA Chairman Khalid Al Malik affirms commitment to strengthening relations through intensive programs that include visits and meetings between the two sides and working on securing scholarships for journalists in the universities of both countries.
It also calls for close coordination at Arab and international conferences and providing opportunities for journalists from the two countries to benefit from the media expertise available in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and to attend conferences, forums, workshops and other media events.
Meetings between the association boards should be held frequently to ensure full coordination, the promotion of professional standards and the exchange of news, reports and investigations.
"This agreement, the first of its kind between the two countries in the field of journalism, reinforces cooperation between us and highlights the importance of the press in confronting religious extremism and political campaigns targeting our countries," Ahdeya said.
"There is a need to have a unified media discourse through which we can express our view in light of the political situation in the region which directly affects us. The signing of the agreement is in line with the realization of the important role of journalism in dealing with challenges, and protecting our country. The media is crucial in promoting security and stability and in protecting nations."
Deepening the sense of patriotism, preserving values and principles and not provoking strife are the keys to the development of our two countries, she added.
"Therefore, we need to strengthen our cooperation to confront challenges and to safeguard the gains and achievements we have accomplished together," Ahdeya said.
"We can be ahead thanks to the resources available and we as journalists have a big responsibility. We should strengthen our bonds and consolidate cooperation so that we can reach our goals."
The MoU will empower both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to train the new generations of journalists and to help them keep abreast with the rapid changes and fast developments marking the world, she stressed.
"In such conditions, we need to make sure our journalists are endowed with all the necessary skills, provided with the required tools and armed with elevated professional standards in order to rise up to the challenges, both in the present and in the future, and deal with them professionally and effectively," she said.
In his speech, Al Malik highlighted the deep-rooted relations between the two countries and the mutually supportive stances throughout the centuries.
“Today, we in the Saudi Journalists Association and the Bahrain Journalists Association commemorate these ties of integration and cooperation between our two countries to ensure the best media cooperation reliant upon shared principles and visions,” he said.
“This blessed step would not have taken place without the support of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the auspices of King Salman and King Hamad, and the support of information ministers Turki Al Shabana and Ali Al Romaihi. We thank Information Minister Ali Al Romaihi for attending and his kind patronage. We also thank the president of Bahrain Journalists Association Ahdeya Ahmed Al-Sayed for her initiative of extending the invitation to this meeting and for adopting this initiative that we also supported,” he said.
Al Malik said he was looking forward to media cooperation and coordination between both sides through the agreement.