Said Dehri - Doha

Mustafa Sawaq, acting general manager of Al Jazeera Network, has confirmed that The Aljazeera International Documentary Film Festival has proved to be an international event by all professional standards. It also has gained more momentum in every edition of its 10 consecutive editions. The festival's affiliation to Al Jazeera and its remarkability in the Arab World have given it a special glamour.

In a talk to Al Jazeera Net, Sawaq added that the festival had a humble start, but later it has expanded and began to receive more than a thousand contesting films from more than sixty countries. This has turned the festival into a major landmark among the documentary festivals worldwide.

He also clarified that the ten years in the festival's journey has matured the festival performance, but it doesn't harm to self-review the performance to prepare for a more successful and a wider take off.

Sawaq added that the festival team, in this vein, will refer to evaluative studies and research papers in order to develop and elevate the festival activities in its second decade.

He also uncovered that Aljazeera is searching for advanced technologies and new informational modes to produce speedy documentaries with minutes in duration to meet the fast-paced life of viewers.

Supporting initiatives

The followers of the freedom of press hashtag have reached two billion. This is a proof that this age has no room for suppressing freedom of press

The acting general manager of Al Jazeera has also said that the festival has accumulated successes and formed a solid bridge between cultures. It presented Arab documentaries in their Arab and Islamic form to other cultures East and West. Similarly, it has presented rich documentaries from other cultures to the Arab world.

Sawaq has also noted that this work is marked with integration and acculturation which advances the documentary thinking and leads to artistic and cultural bridging between peoples, because culture could open new avenues of approximation that politics fails to do.

In regards to the initiative of Aljazeera Forum for Documentary Film Festivals, Sawaq has confirmed that the Network supports any initiative that aims to unify media work, support producers and workers in this industry, and deepen the knowledge in documentary work.

Sawaq confirms that Al Jazeera is concerned with the freedom of press and the safety of journalists since its launch. From its conscious of this sphere, Al Jazeera has created a department concerned with liberties and human rights. He also vowed that Al Jazeera will continue its struggle for the sake of the liberties and safety of journalists. When it backs its imprisoned journalists in Egypt, it does that for the sake of journalists everywhere.

 Freedom and safety of journalists

The festival team will refer to evaluative studies and research papers in order to develop and elevate the festival activities in its second decade

Sawaq advised that the Network is leading a campaign for more than a year after the state of suppression that Al Jazeera experienced in Egypt and its journalists were wrongfully and unjustly sentenced. The campaign demonstrated Al Jazeera's ability to address and mobilize the world opinion behind the freedom of press value.

He advised that the number of the hashtag of the freedom of press launched by Al Jazeera reached two billion followers worldwide. This huge number proves that there is no room in this age for suppressing the freedom of press because news travel faster through means that go beyond the place and censorship.

Sawaq noted that Al Jazeera will continue in this campaign in cooperation with other human rights and legal bodies that share the same values in a bid to lift the constraints imposed on journalism.

He also uncovered that many film producers contracted by the festival administration were not allowed to participate in the festival; he was not expected such a ban as the films aren't tackling sensitive issues.

I attribute this ban and suppression to the fear of the voice of art and media, giving the states the right to think about the needs of their people. Meanwhile, people have the right to know what is related to their political and cultural future.

Source : Aljazeera