Bahrain’s media should keep pace with the political and economic developments that have been taking place in Bahrain under the reforms launched by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Minister of Information Affairs Isa Abdulrahman Al Hammadi said.
“We want an effective media that takes the initiative and adopts an editorial policy that yields the required results in the long run,” the minister said. “Developing the official media remains the focus of our drive to overhaul and develop the information sector in the country. There is so much that we seek to accomplish in partnership with the local official and international media,” he said in a community-style interview with local daily Akhbar Al Khaleej .
Despite the developments in the national media, there is need to adopt a new strategy to achieve more specific results, the minister said, adding that a series of meetings and consultations are being held to glean diverse opinions and decide on the most suitable moves, particularly that Bahrain now has a new government work plan, a new parliament and a new budget.
However, the minister stressed that any endeavour to keep pace with the demands and benefits of modernization should be premised on the reality on the ground.
He added that developing a legal frame and promulgating a modern comprehensive law were a top priority and that he would work on enhancing competences and performances, mainly through adequate ameliorations and proper training, to enable the message from Bahrain to reach the international community and reflect the developments happening in the kingdom.
The minister said the content of all radio and television channels would be improved and that the Media and Communications High Authority would be reinvigorated while the endeavours of the official local media would be better coordinated and contacts with the international media would be boosted.
He added that he would build on the strategies and plans of his predecessors and that there would be an open door policy to interact with the media and provide them with official stances regarding any development.
“In line with the directives of His Royal Highness the Prime Minister regarding open communication with the media and the press and providing the public with information about any development, there is a plan to establish a media council comprising the editors in chief of newspapers and columnists that will convene once or twice a week in order to discuss views and ideas,” he said.
The minister said that the national media should be effective and should reach out to external parties and foreign media, lobbies and NGOs in order to inform them about Bahrain’s views.
In the meanwhile, the local media should contribute to the economic development and should help provide opportunities for Bahrainis through investments and infrastructures to attract media companies, such as Al-Arab TV Channel set to begin broadcasting soon.
“This will reflect positively on the economic development plans and programmes,” the minister said.
“A great opportunity now is to involve the private sector in developing the media sector, investing in the radio and television infrastructure, and attracting channels. Huge efforts are needed to develop the sector and to reconnect viewers and listeners with our television and radio channels. This requires offering programmes that have a much higher quality what is currently available,” he said.