Manama: Bahraini journalists who lost their jobs could receive a new chance in the field under an initiative launched by the Bahrain Journalists Association (BJA).

BJA President Ahedya Ahmad said the association would coordinate with institutions and companies in the private sector to find them jobs that are commensurate with their academic qualifications and practical experience.

“There are vacant positions in the public relations sections in a number of institutions that would be appropriate for former journalists,” she said.

“Many journalists who lost their jobs are now working in companies doing jobs that do not match their experience and their status within the Fourth Estate. Journalists are needed in various governmental institutions and they should be given priority in the recruitment process.”

The experience they had gained in their fieldwork will contribute to raising the level of media work within the institutions in line with the aspirations of citizens, she added.

“The jobs that the association will endeavour to provide are consistent with the status of journalists and preserve their dignity and prestige. It is unacceptable to employ a journalist as a watchman for instance,” Ahdeya said.

Newspapers had to reduce staff as part of their restructuring to deal with the drop in funds and advertisement revenues while Al Waqt and Al Wasat shut down in 2010 and 2017 respectively, resulting in a high number of journalists losing their jobs.

For the BJA initiative to succeed, private companies should provide the association with the suitable vacant positions they have, Ahdeya said.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Development and the Civil Service Bureau as the official umbrellas for employment and the Labour Fund “Tamkeen” with its major role to make Bahraini citizens the top candidates for employment, she said.

“Bahrain Journalists Association is part of the civil society and, based on its status, is concerned with the conditions of all journalists and will spare no effort in terms of finding jobs for dismissed journalists,” she said.

“Public support for addressing the situation of unemployed journalists is a positive step. We will require coordination and cooperation among all parties as well as sincere efforts in order to reduce the number of job seekers. The initiative will involve ministries and government agencies, private sector establishments, employers, NGOs and associations,” she said.

In February, Ahdeya was elected the first woman president of BJA since its launch in 2002.