Manama: A strong sense of identity, principles and values are underpinning ethical journalism in Bahrain and the Arabian Gulf, the country’s Minister of Information Affairs Ali Al Romaihi has said.
“In a world of rapid developments, fast changes and conflicting narratives, we need a source of news that can be trusted,” he said.
“Unfortunately, trust is increasingly coming under threat with the development of technology and the proliferation of sources of information. Today, we have more than 1,000 channels broadcasting in Arabic and many of them, in the relentless competition for news, tend to abandon their sense of ethical journalism. Amid such chaotic and frenzied bubbles, we in Bahrain and the Arabian Gulf rely on our identity, principles and values to ensure our people do not become vulnerable to disinformation and propaganda,” the minister said at the opening of a an international media forum.
The forum, organised by the Gulf University, brings together scholars, media people and jurists from several countries to discuss the role of media in the threats to the Arabian Gulf.
The forum represents an excellent opportunity for media experts and academics to present insights that can be used in the forward-looking progress of the media, he added.
“There are plenty of lessons to learn regarding the media and its role. In 1990, when Kuwait was invaded, people knew only terrestrial broadcasting. In 2003, when Baghdad fell, there were satellite television stations, but there were no social programmes such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for people to interact. The televised and printed coverage influenced minds and hearts. Today, it is free for all and nobody and nothing can stop the flow of information, misinformation and disinformation.”
The minister said that the recent media targeting of Saudi Arabia was an example of how media could propagate misinformation and disinformation and stressed the need for greater interaction between media experts across the region to come together and address such challenges.
“We need to ensure that young people become aware of what the media can do, so that they appreciate its significance, and here the role of colleges and universities is crucial,” he said.
“We always need to offer something for future generations to keep moving forward and keep abreast of all developments. There are those who are bent on harming and hurting us whenever they can. However, we should keep on turning their challenges into opportunities to ensure further development and prosperity of our countries.”