Information Affairs Authority
|هيئة شؤون الإعلام|
|Formed||8 July 2010|
|Jurisdiction||Government of Bahrain|
|Deputy Minister responsible||
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The Information Affairs Authority refers to Bahrain's ministry of information.
History and profile
It was formed in July 2010 by a decree of King Hamad separating the information portfolio from what was then known as the "Ministry of Culture and Information". The president of the Information Affairs Authority is appointed directly by the King of Bahrain and has the rank of a minister in the Bahrain government.
The current, and so far only, president of the Information Affairs Authority is Fawaz bin Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, who is a member of the Al Khalifa ruling family and a cousin of King Hamad and the current prime minister of Bahrain. Fawaz's father, Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, served as Bahrain's interior minister from 1973 until 2004. Fawaz's grandfather, Khalifa bin Hamad al Khalifa, served as the director general of Bahrain's Police and Public Security Department from 1937 until 1961. Fawaz's great-grandfather Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was the ruler of Bahrain from 1932 until 1942. Prior to being appointed as president of the IAA, Fawaz served as the president of General Organisation for Youth and Sports.
Prior to the creation of the IAA in 2010, the information ministry was handled by Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa under the Ministry of Culture and Information.
In April 2012, the King appointed Sameera Rajab, an outspoken supporter of Saddam Hussain, and cousin of Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab, as the country's Minister of State for Information Affairs.
The responsibilities of the Authority include:
- controlling the Bahrain News Agency and the Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation
- regulating press and publications in the country
- acting as the official spokesperson for the government of Bahrain
In 2011, the Information Affairs Authority came under criticism for its handling of the Bahraini uprising. According to the report issued in November 2011 by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry:
Having reviewed a selection of material from national television, radio and print media relating to the events of February/March 2011, the Commission notes that much of this material contained derogatory language and inflammatory coverage of events, and some may have been defamatory. However, the Commission did not find evidence of media coverage that constituted hate speech. The Commission also identified numerous examples of defamation, harassment and, in some cases, incitement through social media websites. Both pro- and anti-government journalists were targeted through social media. The Commission notes that six of the seven daily newspapers are pro-government and the broadcasting service is state- controlled. There is also sufficient evidence to suggest that the [Government of Bahrain] exercised censorship over local media outlets. The lack of adequate access to mainstream media creates frustration within opposition groups and results in these groups resorting to other media outlets such as social media. This can have a destabilising effect because social media outlets are both untraceable and unaccountable, even in extreme cases where they promulgate hate speech and incitement to violence.(p410)
Notable people in the IAA
- Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa
- Abdul Aziz bin Mubarak Al Khalifa
- Maysoon Sabkar
- Luma Bashmi
- Fahad AlBinAli
- Mariam Bukamal
- "His Majesty issues decrees". Gulf Daily News. 9 July 2010.
- "Decree No 31 of the Year 2010 on the Renaming of the Ministry of Culture and Information and the Establishment of the Information Affairs Authority". Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Bahrain. 8 July 2010.
- "Decree No 33 of the Year 2010 on the Appointment of the President of the Information Affairs Authority". Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Bahrain. 8 July 2010.
- Buyers, Christopher. "Genealogy of Bahrain's Al Khalifa dynasty". Royal Ark. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
- Mekhennet, Souad (Aug 19, 2013). "Lifting the Veil With Souad Mekhennet: Bahrain’s Iron Lady". thedailybeast. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- Murphy, Dan (25 April 2012). "After Formula One scrutiny, Bahrain hires a fan of Saddam Hussein to improve its image". Christian Science Monitor.
- Wehrey, Frederic (31 May 2012). "The March of Bahrain’s Hardliners". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
In late April, it appointed Samira Rajab, a polarizing figure who has praised Saddam Hussein and whose anti-Shia statements have aroused the ire of the opposition, as information minister.
- "Bahrain establishes new information authority". AMEinfo.com. 11 July 2010.
- Report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (PDF) (Report). Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. 23 November 2011.
- "Bahrain’s Information Affairs Authority responds to Index". Index on Censorship. 31 January 2010.