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Mon 6 Nov 2000 04:00 AM

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Sheikh Mohammed opens Dubai Media City

His Highness uses the openening ceremony to call for barriers to press freedom in the UAE to be broken down.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has promised to personally guarantee freedom of expression for the world's media working from the UAE. His comments came at the official opening of Dubai Media City, which hopes to act as a magnet to knowledge workers in the media industry.

"I give you the right to speak your minds; be completely objective in your views and reporting." Sheikh Mohammed told the assembled press. "The UAE has understood that to flourish, media needs to be unshackled from policies and practices that limit its independence and creativity," he added.

Sheikh Mohammed did, however, warn the press that their freedom must not be abused. "I entrust you to research thoroughly, gather your facts well and act with moral responsibility. Make no accusations without evidence, cast no slurs without proof," he said.

The only constraints that remain are those indelibly linked to the local culture. Sheikh Mohammed told the press to report "objectively and with accountability and in the spirit of the social and cultural context in which we live."

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