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Media authority to be set up in Bahrain

Move is miniser Samira Rajab’s initiative to strengthen national unity

Gulf News

Manama: Bahrain is setting up a high authority for information and communication that will propose regulations and set rules to enhance press and media practices.

The authority will also set criteria for print, audio, video and electronic media and advertisement content to ensure compliance with the constitution and law.

The rules and regulations will have the stated aim of reinforcing national unity and the renunciation of sectarianism and promote objectivity, the respect of religions and cultures and compliance with ethical practices.

The proposal to set up the new authority was submitted by the state minister for information affairs Samira Rajab, to the cabinet and the government at its weekly session on Sunday referred it to the ministerial committee for legal affairs for further studies, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

Samira, a former columnist who was named state minister for information in April, is the tenth information minister since Bahrain’s independence in 1971 and the second woman to have the portfolio after Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammad Al Khalifa, the current culture minister. She has been pushing for higher standards in the local and Gulf media.

On December 22, Samira charged that the Gulf media in general lacked the modern and advanced elements and components needed to assert themselves in a fast-paced world and to confront new challenges.

“It is about time that people with responsibilities in the Gulf appreciated the significance of the media,” she said as she opened a media centre in the Bahraini capital Manama ahead of the Gulf Cooperation Council summit.

“The media today do not operate according to their old forms and shapes. Media communication is today wide open and no-one can resist it or ignore it. It is just like air, capable of reaching everyone and everywhere. We too in the Gulf need to improve our media to be able to reach the international community and convince them of what we have and what we can do,” she said.

Bahrain has five dailies in Arabic and two in English and several weekly and monthly publications in Arabic, English and other languages.

All print media are privately owned.