The national news agencies' key role in defending national interests has been stressed today. State Minister for Information Affairs and the Government's Official Spokesperson Sameera Ibrahim bin Rajab described them as the main guarantor of the state's voice in front of hundreds of regional and international mass media which have engaged in suspicious regional political projects and goals to wreak havoc, insecurity and instability.
The minister was speaking in a plenary discussion session at the University of Bahrain under the theme "Ethic and Competence in News Agencies Work" which was held on the sidelines of the 42nd conference of the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA) General Assembly hosted by Bahrain on November 23 and 24.
Many ambassadors, UoB President Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Janahi, Chairman of the International News Agencies Council and FANA President Abdullah bin Fahad Al Hussain and Directors of Arab news agencies attended the event.
The State Minister for Information Affairs and the Government's Official Spokesperson thanked Bahrain News Agency (BNA) for hosting the conference and UoB for its continuous cooperation. She also thanked the Chairman of the International News Agencies Council and FANA President for his key role in boosting cooperation and coordination between the Arab news agencies.
The minister emphasised the leading role of the news agencies as the main source of news, pointing out relative regress of this role in light of the tough competition between written, audio-visual and electronic mass media triggered by landmark changes witnessed by the media and telecommunications sector. She pointed out the emergence of new electronic news sources which could be more influential for the Arab public opinion.
Yet, she affirmed that despite the major changes in the media and telecommunication sector, the official national news agencies are still the main guarantor of the state's voice and a defender of its interests in front of hundreds of regional and international mass media that are serving suspicious regional projects and political goals.
The minister underlined the pivotal role of information and news in fostering social security and stability. "National news agencies are not only mere ordinary media institutions disclosing news to the public. They are official institutions which have to engage in the concept of media security for countries," she said, stressing the need for governments to provide the national news agencies with the needed financial and human resources to achieve set up goals.
She described the news agency as a strategic institution, not less important than the military, security and economic ones, which contributes to defending the interests of the community and bolstering national security and stability.
The State Minister for Information Affairs emphasised the great responsibility that has to be shouldered by the national news agencies amid more sophisticated regional and international challenges. "It has become clear that the new regional and international battles are basically media ones," she affirmed, pointing out the need to lay bare suspicious plots and disclose the right news rapidly and professionally.
The minister said over the past four years Bahrain has been the target of an unprecedented regional and international media attack to shake its stability and cast doubt on its reform achievements at all levels. However, she adde, Bahrain has been able to confront the media war waged against it. She pointed out the five-year strategy carried out by the State Ministry for Information Affairs to develop its official media bodies and boost their role in defending the national interests.
The minister thanked BNA Acting Director General Mohannad Suleiman for his remarkable efforts to develop Bahrain News Agency, wishing the conference every success.