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Bahrain: Five-year media strategy announced

Plans include dedicated cities for film production, book publishing

Gulf News

Manama: Bahrain is planning to launch a comprehensive rehabilitation and development of the information and communication sector as part of its new media strategy.

The five-year strategic plan (2013- 2018) seeks to support professionalism in media practice and production, enhance national unity, ensure security and stability, spread a spirit of harmony and tolerance and contribute to the spreading of awareness and knowledge throughout the community, Sameera Rajab, State Minister For Information Affairs, said as she presented the strategy to the media.

The strategy’s other two major issues involve highlighting the kingdom’s reforms, achievements and modernisation drive to local and international public opinion and making the media and communication sector an attractive field for investment, she said.

“The strategy comprises 45 initiatives and projects that will be implemented gradually in accordance to priority, over the next five years,” she said.

Some of the initiatives implemented this year included conducting a nationwide survey of the media and communication sector in the kingdom, drafting the law for media and communications, establishing the Higher Authority for Media and Communications and building new studios in line with the latest audio visual media production.

Plans include building institutional capacities for the media sector by setting standards for media work according to international standards, establishing an advanced government communications system, forming a wide network of media relations abroad and making the media and communication sector an attractive field of investment that will contribute to the diversification of the kingdom’s national income.

Under the income-boosting objective, the ministry plans to set up a city for audio-visual industries, a city for film production, a city for digital production and a city for the book publishing industry.

The ministry also plans to organise events regionally and internationally and to encourage positive competitiveness among local television and radio stations.

The minister, a former columnist with Akbar Al Khaleej, the oldest newspaper in circulation in the country, said that the strategy includes enhancing the performance of the official news agency, the Bahrain News Agency (BNA) through upgrading its status and widening its agreement with Arab and international agencies. News will be published in the languages of the United Nations as well, she said.

The BNA will also use the latest broadcasting technologies and will develop its services to include audio, video and live transmission. It will set up its own research and information department to support the process of production and boost the level of news and reports.