No doubt that Bahrain is a lovely island-nation where people from all over the world pay much to visit or live here. It is a relaxed small Kingdom that everything can somehow be found. Even by GCC standards, many would rather visit Bahrain instead of busy and fast Dubai. What’s not to love in a country rich with its people’s sole?
Well, just like any other place around the world, people need the necessary social tools that help them get it touch with a vital human aspect called ‘interaction.’ We always want to interact, talk, learn from each other, communicate, and go to where everyone else goes in order to be together. By nature, we like to know more about each other, learn from one another, and develop together. Yes, some anomalies do exist here or there, but in general terms; we like to always know more.
That’s why always investing in the latest communication tools is always profitable. Globally, we have reached a level where a group of friends can pinpoint everyone’s location at any given moment. In my case, I can locate where my wife and son are at any time of day, simply through an application in my iPhone.
The speed of informational flow is like a running river, you can either make use of it, or not. If you don’t use the current, it won’t be shut for others not to use. More importantly, you can never swim against the direction of the flow, unless you are extremely talented, and it won’t be easy.
What I mean here is that when a certain event happens in Bahrain today, people won’t hear about it the next day in the newspapers. Today, newspapers are going through a tough and rough time. They know that they have to be as creative as possible in order to keep printing and selling old news to readers. Thus, we find newspapers like AlAyam, who rather successfully is combining their mobile phone and tablet applications with a technology that integrates with their printed newspapers, something called ‘Augmented Reality.’
What I’m hinting at here is the incident, which happened recently in the Seef Flyover, where two young girls have sadly lost their lives. The authorities in informational sense handled this tragedy very poorly. Still, so many stories, so many conflicting ones, have surfaced about this specific incident.
While traffic tragedies happen everyday, let’s do a comparison and see how this would have been handled in the West. Some events catch people’s attention more than others, and demand for more information is thus immediately created. In return, the press covers the story from A to Z. They interview almost everyone associated, including relatives, eyewitnesses, hospital officials, and relevant authorities. This happens always in the West.
Here in Bahrain, we lived in an informational black hole, while people still demanded news. The authorities were slower than turtles, and the local media were at the usual ‘spoon-fed’ mode waiting for the official state media to send an email (or probably a fax) on the incident for a ‘copy-paste’ act into their newspapers (also now using Twitter).
This massive failure to satisfy the existing demand led to colorful made-up stories. I personally heard 5 or 6 extremely different versions, two of which were very insulting to the family of the deceased and to the citizens of a neighboring country. I personally found out that non are true, because in one case Bahrain’s Minister of Works still has his job!
If Bahrain wants to integrate socially, economically, politically, and informationally with the rest of the world, it needs to get its act together and understand a simple methodology called supply and demand. Supply and Demand needs to be balanced, either naturally or artificially or the general population will chaotically handle it. We are working to do this economically, but there remain various other dimensions as well.
I call here everyone involved in media. You have a job to do, learn within it how to improve and how to do things better. From what I see, we are falling behind, way behind. And to the authorities, I’d say that your success is directly entangled with the media’s success. Will you wait for them, or do something about it?