Bahrain Press is well known for its healthy atmosphere and civilised dialogue. It’s characterised by its defence of truth and values regardless of any other considerations.
The paramount supremacy of the national interest supersedes any other. We can add to this the professionalism of its journalists, and their performance according to the highest standards of commitment.
I can confirm this by my close work, through Promoseven, with Bahraini and other Gulf newspapers. Historically, the Press in Bahrain, apart from the Kuwaiti Press, was the most advanced in the Gulf.
We witnessed the progress of the Press in other brother-countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and there is no doubt that this progress developed along with the economic, cultural, and urban renaissance that these countries witnessed.
Back in the day, we regularly ran advertising campaigns through these newspapers. Our media approach was to support the classic advertising campaigns with a barrage of Press releases. These concentrated on factual characteristics and details about a given product or service effectively adding to the news. This is how we were able to build a long-term relationship, based on trust, with the media and the markets. Our Press releases were always vetted and balanced by the various news media, ensuring that the information supplied was factually accurate.
Our aim was to build a long-term relationship of trust with customers and markets, and this is what achieved considerable success for us, and we may have been influenced in this approach by the Press itself, as it was balanced in providing information as it is without manipulation.
The freedom of the Press is a good thing, but freedom must have its limits. The Lebanese model of Press freedom is a good example of that. Every advertising medium represents an intellectual trend or political party. Instead of using the Press for construction and development, it has turned into a destructive tool and a platform for abusing and destroying the partners in the homeland.
Journalism is a double-edged weapon, and its dangers appear when extremists who advocate killing and destruction start exploiting this freedom. This is what happened in Nazi Germany during the era of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. He exploited the radio in a very smart and malicious way, manipulating the people and pushing them to vote for the Nazi party. From that point it was an easy step to push them to war. He even convinced them of Germany’s victory at a time when the Allied planes were pounding Berlin.
The world recently celebrated World Press Freedom Day under the slogan “Information as a public good”. This is the main task of the Press, to provide correct information about all aspects of life, not to ignite hatred and provide false information. Journalism should not be a means of achieving despicable goals as this transforms it into a criminal tool not a channel of knowledge.
Journalists can both build and destroy. I believe that every journalistic institution should fully study any journalist’s background and intellectual orientations before employing him or her and providing a platform to influence public opinion. The journalists should be a thoughtful, broad-minded, well-informed reader of the current trends, a person who is fully aware of all the merits of the story being presented to the reader. They should add something useful in a systematic framework and refuse to be a tool in anyone’s hand.
The caveman used fire as a means of communication, and things developed until writing was invented and became a means of transmitting information not only between a man and other people but between successive generations as well. Matters evolved until man invented the telegraph, fax, the radio, the telephone, television, then the Internet, and social media.
All these tools aim to achieve the same ancient goal: Effective communication between human beings. Let us be careful and keep it that way. We should keep it far apart from any other goals that lead to destruction and hatred.
Today, every human being has become a journalist and transmitter of information in one way or another. Because of that, we should be more and more responsible in how we spread facts, optimism, and positivity.