Media bias ‘cost Bahrain millions’
Manama, July 7, 2013
Bahrain has lost millions of dinars paying public relations companies as it tries to combat negative reporting in the international media, according to a leading human rights activist.
"These millions could have been spent to solve the internal issues and make us stronger internally," National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) vice-chairman Dr Abdulla Al Deerazi was quoted as saying in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"We could have silenced all the critics, who would be praising us. Let us do our homework inside and then let's see who criticises us."
The money could have been better spent on housing and education had the country not become the victim of propaganda campaigns waged by political activists following the 2011 unrest, he added.
The activist referred to recent over the top criticism of Bahrain surrounding the postponement of a visit by United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment professor Juan Mendez.
He was scheduled to visit Bahrain in May, but the government put off the trip until further notice.
"It is a good thing that Bahrain has not cancelled this visit, but only postponed it temporarily," said Dr Al Deerazi.
"We urge the government to ensure that the UN official visits Bahrain before the end of the year."
Dr Al Deerazi said there was no doubt Bahrain was a victim of negative reporting by some international groups, but said sometimes it does not help itself by the way it responds to criticism.
"Global human rights groups criticise countries and it is for these countries to improve themselves internally," he added. – TradeArabia News Service