Nabeel Al-Hamer “Media Personality of the Year 2018”, But When Will He Return the Half-Million BD Loan to State Treasury?

2018-04-20 - 5:15 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The Bahraini King's media advisor, Nabeel Al-Hamer, won the Media Personality of the Year award granted by the Arab Media Forum in Dubai on the sidelines of the "Arab Journalism Award" for 2018. It seems like a joke the United Arab Emirates made to entertain and shock the people of Bahrain- by awarding a corrupt man, who established a newspaper on a land plot owned by the government and didn't pay a single dinar for it, and whom the Bahraini Ministry of Finance lent a loan of half a million BD, which he hasn't paid back yet. He also founded a stock company and didn't give any of the contributors any of the revenues since its establishment, which led them to file lawsuits against him.

The UAE wants to convince us that this man is the "Media Personality of the Year 2018".

On this happy occasion, the Minister of Information Ali bin Mohammed Al-Rumaihi congratulated Al-Hamer on his award and on being honored by the Dubai ruler. "He is one of the pioneers of the press and media in Bahrain and the Arab world. He founded Al-Ayam institution for publishing in 1989 and contributed to the establishment of the Bahraini Journalists Association," he said. This is in fact censure in the form of praise. Al-Hamer established a newspaper with money robbed from the state and citizens. The contributors brought administrative and financial corruption cases against him after the financial reports of the enterprise revealed substantial financial corruption. The ridiculous association he established as well has never hindered an oppressor or saved an oppressed. He tore up the body of journalism and turned it to a form of feudalism run by a "remote control".

Al-Ayam newspaper was an initiative made by the former Minister of Information Tariq Al-Moayyed, yet Al-Hamer was brought from rock bottom to preside over it. The Ministry of Finance allocated half a million BD to it, dedicating the former headquarters of the ministry in Al-Juffair as its HQ. The enterprise's shares were unequally distributed as such: 25% for the Minister, 20% for Al-Hamer, 5% for Ibrahim Bashmi and Salwa Al-Moayyed and around 3% to 15 journalists and contributors. Al-Hamer's wealth grew with time, so he bought the contributors' shares until he owned 59% of the shares. He also gave 1% of the shares to each of his family members: Abdullah Nabeel Al-Hamer, Mariam Nabeel Al-Hamer, Rashid Nabeel Al-Hamer and Yacoub Nabeel Al-Hamer.

Al-Hamer granted himself 4,000 BD monthly in his capacity as "the advisor of the newspaper". He also turned the establishment to a family company. He hired his wife to write a small cooking corner, not read by anyone, in return for a high salary. He also started to hire his sons, one after the other, in unproductive and unknown posts with high salaries, until they burdened the newspaper's budget. Most importantly, Al-Hamer took over the most profitable department, i.e. the ads department. He also founded an equivalent ads company with the participation of other contributors, through which he controlled most of the ad revenues. On the other hand, he began to claim and inform the contributors that the newspaper is falling into loss. He did all of that in order to convince them to withdraw and sell their shares to him.

Al-Hamer did not pay back the half a million BD that the Finance Ministry loaned him when he established the newspaper. He was supposed to pay back the loan to the State when the newspaper began making profits and became independent of the state; but he didn't do so. For its part, the government; however, did not seek to take back the loan, in order to keep the newpaper under its umbrella. One of the founders said in a past interview with Bahrain Mirror: "We wanted it to be a free, independent, liberal institution whose shares are owned by journalists, but Al-Hamer turned it into a private farm."

Since the eruption of the February 14 events, Al-Hamer diversified his approach in giving the newspaper the green light to insult people, including allowing it to curse the people and describe them with derogatory terms. The King's media advisor himself published photos of condoms and female underwear with a caption that read "Muta'a nights at the roundabout," in reference to the LuaLua Roundabout.

When he decided to address the Shia leader in Bahrain, he said, "the bastard Isa Qassim"; in attempt to insult him by accusing him of being born out of wedlock.

"Al-Muta'a" is a term used to describe a form of temporary marriage in Shia jurisprudence. However, the hardliners of the regime such as Al-Hamer use it as a weapon in doctrinal disputes and to doubt the honor of dissidents who demand equality. "Muta'a children" has been used as a derogatory term in the political and media discourse against the opponents of the regime.

This is Nabeel Al-Hamer, whom the Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced as the Media Personality of the Year 2018. With its contributions and wealth, the UAE can make Bahrainis happy, but this time it failed. If there were a prize for insults and slander, then Dubai should have granted it to Al-Hamer.


Arabic Version



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