Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer al-Thani addressing the forum yesterday. Right: Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani

By Joseph Varghese/Staff Reporter

The importance of protection for journalists who cover conflicts, was emphasised by Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer al-Thani, chairman of the Board of Al Jazeera Network. He was speaking at the opening session of the ninth Al Jazeera Forum that started yesterday.
This year’s forum focuses on tackling conflict and change in the Arab region. A large number of experts and speakers are participating in the forum from all over the Arab world and beyond. The speakers and discussions at the forum highlighted the prevailing situation in the Arab countries and the changes needed.
Sheikh Hamad said, “Many of our staff have been targeted badly and some have been arrested. We have paid very heavy price in many cases.”
Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, minister’s assistant for international co-operation affairs, talked about Qatar’s position in many ongoing conflicts in the Arab region. He said that Qatar denounces all forms of terrorism, which “are an outcome of the
denial of people’s rights”.
Sheikh Mohamed said that “Qatar has encouraged Arab world’s leaders to meet their people’s demand since the emergence of the Arab Spring. Qatar is working for the Yemeni people to gain back their stability and rights. We condemn what the Palestinians are facing from the atrocious activities of Israel.”
Sheikh Mohammed also commented that the main reason for conflict is the growing income gap. However, he emphasised that Qatar is working on initiatives to reduce the gap in less
developed countries.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi from the United Kingdom said that Qatar has tried very well to resolve conflicts in the region and pave the way for peace.
She stated, “Qatar can be proud that it stood at the right side in the conflicts of the
However she pointed out that the fact that the Arab region did not set clear goals for resolving the conflict, resulted in the lack of action by the British government.

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