Freedom of Expression in Oman Guaranteed by Basic Law of the State 

Muscat (ONA): The Basic Law of the State in the Sultanate of Oman secures freedom of expression and opinion. Article (35) in Chapter Three of the statute states that “The Freedom of Opinion and the right to articulate it orally or in writing or by all means of expression is guaranteed within the purview of law”.

In all his Royal speeches, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik has reaffirmed freedom of expression advocated by the State of Institutions.

 A programme aired recently by Oman TV codenamed “Your News” highlighted freedom of expression and described it as “a national shield that secures accomplishments and engenders the will to build.” The programme indicated that the products of Omani media establishments-in print, audio, visual or electronic form- provide a truthful content that underlines national accomplishments and enshrines them within the original Omani precepts.

 In this respect, Dr. Aisha Hamad Al Darmaki, Head of the State Council’s Committee for Culture, Media and Tourism, said that freedom of expression and opinion constitutes an inseparable part of citizens’ basic civil rights and rapports to human rights.

Dr. Aisha pointed out that-besides legislations-freedom in different countries are associated with religious values and social norms, which in themselves as misinterpreted by some as forms of limitation of freedom of expression. Accordingly, writers using means of modern information have a duty to manage the huge flow of misleading data. They have to command the necessary skills needed to cross-check information.

Dr. Aisha’s statement comes in response to an unfair report issued by Reporters without borders organisation. She said that the report was baed on wrong information and inaccurate elements.

Dr. Aisha underscored the significance of partnerships between government and private establishments and civil society institutions and the importance of providing real and truthful facts.

In his turn, Jamal Salim Al Nabhani, Director of the Legislation Department at the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, said that the Basic Law of the State elevated the value of freedom of expression and made it a constitutional diction that does not distinguish between individuals-be they citizens or residents-in the Sultanate of Oman. It states that all individuals have a right to express opinion by all means. 

Al Nathan added that the Basic Law of the State defined the parameters of freedom of expression, saying that “freedom of expression should not disrupt the public order or violate public ethics or infringe the supreme interests of the rights of others.”

Al Nabhani laid emphasis on the Sultanate of Oman’s interacting with international organizations and addressing human rights reports which, he said, require specialized experience to handle.

Al Nabhani stressed that practical reality affirms that human rights in Oman is much better than reported and that the country has positive things valued both by citizens and residents, but ignored at an international level. 

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