Bahraini journalists to develop media sector
Manama, May 8, 2014
Veteran Bahraini journalists have joined forces to draft a media strategy aimed at developing the sector, a report said.
They held a roundtable discussion yesterday with international experts to discuss key issues faced by journalists in Bahrain, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The discussion, under Chatham House rules, was held under the theme 'Bahrain in the Media: Perception vs Reality'.
Several journalists took part in the session and discussed political agendas, accessibility, transparency and freedom of the Press.
They also drafted a document comprising their recommendations to draw up the strategic media plan.
The session was moderated by Bahrain Journalists' Association (BJA) facilitators. It was held at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa following a ceremony to honour media pioneers in the country, held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
BJA president Moanes Al Mardi said they would release a final draft with key recommendations within 10 days.
Bahraini columnist Nabeel Saeed said a powerful media strategy was needed to improve Bahrain's image abroad and debunk false claims made by international rights groups or opposition leaders.
He said Western media continue to attack Bahrain through biased reporting since the 2011 unrest.
"It is high time we depict the correct picture of Bahrain to the rest of the world," he told the GDN.
"We need an effective media planning to deal with foreign media who unfortunately continue to publish photographs and reports that are not correct. I think locally the media is doing a good job to show the ground realities but we need to double our efforts to do this abroad."
Prague-based Central European Journal of International and Security Studies editor-in-chief Dr Mitchell Belfer, who was among a group of international experts and journalists invited to attend yesterday's ceremony, accused the Western media of "manipulating facts" relating to Bahrain.
"For the past three years there have been dozens of articles and reports written about Bahrain that have all been negative, which is wrong," he said.
"They want to show that nobody is allowed to talk in Bahrain and there is no free speech. I have deep suspicion of the Western media when it comes to Bahrain and now if you see they are doing the same by coming out with manipulated stories from Ukraine.
"It is unfortunate that the international media resort to all these types of manipulation rather than telling the real Bahrain story. Bahrain is an open society for reportage,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service