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Double-edged media sword

Comment
By Zuhair A Tawfiqi


The Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry recently announced, with much fanfare, that it had cleaned 48,000 water drainage points all over Bahrain to prepare for the rainy season.

The question is – do the officials think this is news worth publicising? After all, it is the job of the ministry to do just that, among many other things, to make like comfortable for the people. Are they doing the people a favour by doing what they are supposed to be doing?

And why announce it?

I wonder when we will learn what news deserves to be publicized and hat does not. When will our officials realise media and public relations is an art and a science that takes you to the highest point or the lowest ebb – depending on what the impact is. That is why they say the media is a double-edged sword and should be used carefully.

What if each ministry or government body started publicizing what it has done, and what in fact is routine work, what will we end up with? In what way do the people benefit from such news, I fail to understand.

Public relations and media officials in these ministries should be aware, study and evaluate news before publishing it so as not to become a laughing stock. They have an important role to play and they should thus refrain from talking about things they have to do anyway. They should be professional in their approach to work and not bother about publicity. Writing something is the easiest thing to do but one must understand the impact.

I hope all ministries and agencies will improve their work and focus on development to facilitate procedures and serve the people rather than publishing useless news.

I am confident readers distinguish between good and bad so officials need to be careful. To be fair to the staff in public relations departments, the blame lies at the very top of the pyramid in those ministries and it is senior officials who give their consent before any news is sent for publishing.

Sometimes, though, this centralization is necessary to ensure that the reputation of the ministry or the body is protected.

I would like to clarify here all that I have said is in public interest and cleaning drainage points is just an example of so much such news that we read daily.

ztawfeeqi@gmail.com

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