"Game Over" Bahraini Newspapers: War on News Pages Will Fail

2019-10-07 - 10:23 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Since the statement of Ahdiya Ahmed, head of Bahrain Journalists Association affiliated with the Royal Court, news pages on social media outlets that have Bahraini popularity, Instagram in particular, have been continuously attacked.

Following Ahdiya's threats to prosecute news pages and drag them to court, which has become known as a tool for punishing those who dare to speak against the royal family, several media attacks were launched against active accounts on social media outlets. So what's the reason behind this?

Since 2011, official newspapers have been experiencing successive crises, including the issue of the emergence of competitors that the newspapers have never qualified themselves to compete with. Competitors that are of a different nature, who are just citizens who want to make use of the technology and communication revolution, engage in the activity of reporting news, photos and videos and talk about the reality of the society they live in. 

These newspapers have never tried to rely on themselves, as they have relied on the support they receive from the Royal Court, or from the Prime Minister's Court. Newspapers have lost their status of being almost the only outlet for reporting news and points of views, while social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms have destroyed this wall, but most importantly, newspapers have never exercised their primary mission i.e.: telling the truth.

Newspapers do not lack journalists with conscience, they can be found in every newspaper, but such journalists only have a limited margin to work in. However, the larger margin is given only to the shoe polishers and those who receive instructions from the security apparatuses.

Conscientious people are not given space to express people's pains and hopes, so their free word dies before it reaches the page through the bans by directors and editors who commit to the conditions of the "Funders". Newspapers have always been this way and will continue to be.

So what is required of people who have been liberated after decades of living under the low ceiling of these newspapers and behind their thick wall? Newspapers have been and are still falsifying the opinions of people, lying in their name, burying their pain and dreams behind headlines supportive of official authorities and polishing the image of corruption and its men and the gang of thieves found in offices.

This is the basis of the battle, neither do news pages steal anything from newspapers like these, nor do they have something real to steal. At least 90% of the content published in newspapers is news from two sources, the first is official news that reaches the newspapers through the public relations departments of ministries, official agencies and others, or from the official news agency, and the second is news broadcast by international agencies such as Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, other news agencies and websites. Very little news can be considered a special effort by the newspaper.

Popular news accounts do nothing but circulate these news like the newspapers themselves do, with reference to the source.

Popular accounts on Instagram and others is an acquired right which a group of failed newspaper directors can never take away again, but this battle that lacks logic and purpose waged by the president of Bahrain Journalists Association against specific popular accounts, suggests that the association is merely a tool in the hands of those who launch crackdown campaigns against freedom of expression in the country. What Ahdiya Ahmed is doing comes to complete the efforts of the severe crackdown on the freedom of opinion carried out by the security apparatuses in the country.

Bahraini newspapers lack credibility, and Bahrainis are no longer buying these lies. People have experimented spaces of freedom in larger spaces provided by the Internet and modern applications. The newspaper market has been crowded and their funders have started to refrain from paying them massive sums. People like Anwar Abdulrahman, editor-in-chief of Gulf News, and the owner of Al-Ayyam newspaper Nabeel Al-Hamr, can fund their newspapers through the income of one of their high-rise buildings in Al-Jufair and Al-Seif, but they don't want to.

The obedient employee Ahdiya Ahmed and those behind her should try to practice real journalism instead of practicing whitewashing, and launching attacks on news accounts whose owners are victims of suppression of free speech in the country.

People dream of freedom and change every day, and will not return to the state of obedience to the official state media. These newspapers will remain as they used to be; only papers upon which Bahraini families put their dishes and throw in the garbage after finishing their meals. These families now enjoy browsing social media sites and spaces.

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