New NGO to counteract rumours sought
Manama, March 20, 2012
Bahrain should set up an independent organisation to counteract the spread of false information related to the unrest, said a prominent journalist.
Local media are being urged to join forces in a bid to make their voices heard in the international community to promote the country's security, stability, reform, progress and economy.
It would also aim to combat the spread of 'lies' about events in Bahrain by opposition activists based here and abroad, said Akhbar Al Khaleej editor-in-chief Anwar Abdulrahman.
'We should create a non-governmental organisation (NGO), including members of the Bahraini media, so that our voice reaches the international community,' he said. 'It should operate away from politics and focus on regaining our economy and calling for stability of the country and defend our country.'
Abdulrahman was speaking at a Press conference yesterday about a six-member delegation's visit to the UN office in Geneva.
Other members included Shura Council member and columnist Sameera Rajab, lawyer Nabeel Saeed, youth activists Marwa Obaidali, Fatima Salahudeen and Mohammed Al Najem.
They also attended a conference organised by opposition leader Saeed Al Shehabi and supported by UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC).
The delegation criticised the forum and rejected engaging in dialogue with the opposition, adding it was 'pointless' to speak to people who spread 'lies' about Bahrain.
'They (opposition) were spreading baseless lies and did not seem interested in dialogue or debating about the events in Bahrain,' said Abdulrahman.
Abdulrahman said the opposition resorted to an Iranian-style tactic used during the 1979 Iranian revolution.
He explained that the movement in Iran 'killed' the country's economy which was an important tool in the success of the revolution. 'The opposition is trying to use the same methods here,' he said.
He also questioned Western influence in the Arab Spring, saying he was against the Westernisation of the region.
'The problem in the region is an international political problem and I question whether what happened across the Arab world was the true demands of the people or was it that some were playing the role of puppeteer,' he explained.
'What we face here is the application of Western agendas because they want governments who are their agents and who denounce Arab culture and traditions. But we reject Westernisation and are proud of our roots, despite being from different religions, we are all at the end Arabs. But they don't want this.'
Meanwhile, Al Najem called on civil society to prepare the country's younger generation to be more politically aware.
He said youngsters should be trained to play a greater role in the political scene and stand united for the 'truth'.
'Youths have an important role to play in Bahrain and we ask the civil society to train us and integrate us into the political scene,' he said.
'There is a lack of awareness in civil society about the role of the youth since the unrest but now we are starting to move and speak out. Political awareness is slowly starting among young Bahrainis but we are not prepared for it and we need to be fully trained.'
The delegation also urged Bahrain's youth to fight for their rights and stability of their country through intellectual debate.
'The opposition is always ready for confrontations, so we as Bahrain's youth need to do more to move and prepare to face them,' said Obaidali. 'We need to be ready to be proactive and show the true image of what really happened in our country.'
Salahudeen said Bahrainis should take a firm stand to promote their country abroad.
'The problem we face is that the opposition is always at international conferences and the UN, spreading a different story from reality,' she said. 'So, us, as civil society, need to be more active and make our voices heard.'
The delegation also dismissed claims it worked for the government, saying it was an independently-funded visit.
'We are working towards spreading the truth about Bahrain,' said Rajab. 'We represent ourselves, the majority of the Bahraini society and reject the opposition's actions and the February 14 events.'
Rajab claimed opposition groups such as Al Wefaq National Islamic Society were against reforms.
She was referring to former Al Wefaq MPs Mattar Mattar and Ali Alaswad's presence at the IHRC forum.
'We joined the forum to speak for the other side of the society, the majority, about the events in Bahrain,' said Rajab.
'They (Al Wefaq MPs) were agreeing with the same people that instigate hate and mobilise Bahraini society against the regime and they did not condemn any of it or the ongoing street violence.'
Rajab said the trip was successful in changing the views of some international organisations, as they were subjected to hearing both sides of the spectrum.
But said some such organisations were in the 'business' of benefiting from the Arab Spring movement.
Meanwhile, Saeed expressed the importance of demanding change and political reforms but in the proper manner and time.
'How can anyone say there is no freedom or change in Bahrain when anti-government protests are authorised and proceed without interference from police,' he said. 'Change is happening in Bahrain but the notion that this change needs to be made immediately is not realistic.”
'This is what the opposition aims to achieve but it is not possible because anywhere in the world, real change takes time,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service