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Chan'ad Bahraini

(Scomberomorous maculatus Bahrainius)

Note: This page has moved to a new address. Please click on the following URL to get there: http://chanad.weblogs.us/index.php?s=Get your act together GDN. Sorry for the trouble.

Get your act together GDN

Saturday, May 08, 2004

A couple of the other Bahrain blogs have been talking about the whole "Satan worshipping" issue taking place in Bahrain's newspapers, so I thought I'd put in my 2 fils also. Now although I agree with the opinions of the others who have put the blame on MP Shaikh Mohammed Khalid Mohammed for blowing things out of proportion, my real beef is with the way the GDN has been reporting the matter.

If I'm not mistaken, it was first reported in the GDN on the front page of the 24 April 2004 issue in an article headlined "Satan worshippers escape". The first sentence of the report reads:
A group of Satan worshippers have escaped an attempt by police to arrest them, it was revealed last night.
Really, this is poor and irresponsible reporting. Now I don't know whether those kids were actually Satan worshippers or not (and I don't really care much to be honest), and I don't think the GDN reporter knew this for sure either. Shouldn't they have rephrased the sentence to make it clear that those kids have been merely accused of being Satan worshippers by an individual MP? How about something like: "A group of teenagers, accused of being Satan worshippers by an MP, have escaped an attempt..." And why couldn't the headline at least have carried quotation marks around "Satan worshippers"? Yes, it may seem trivial, but I'm sure if I was one of the accused Satan worshippers I would be pretty cheesed about being labelled as such. Again, in the third paragraph, the reporter continues to refer to the group as "the Satanists". Furthermore, why was this article given space on the front page??! There are lots of important things to report, and the GDN has to select the most pertinent things to put on its front page... what could justify this being here in place of something more pressing?

Unfortunately, this is not the only time the GDN has used this sensational style of reporting. Today's front page also carried an article headlined: "Car sex couple are fined"... who cares?? Okay, maybe it warrants a small mention in the bottom corner of page 8, but why the front page?! Why does anything having to do with sex have to repeatedly be given so much importance in the newspaper?

Let's take another article (which thankfully was not on the front page this time). It is from the issue of Friday 9 April 2004 titled "Runaway maid in 'sex romps' with workers". Here are the first three sentences:
A runaway housemaid had sex with all the three men who were sheltering her. One even offered to marry her and bought a gold ring, Bahrain's Lower Criminal Court heard. The Indonesian maid, 34, claimed she ran away because her sponsor's wife regularly beat her up and paid her no salary for three months.
Again, why is it that the first sentence had to do with the fact that the maid was having sex, and that it takes until the third sentence for the article to tell us that she was regularly beaten and not paid by her sponsors? Moreover, notice how the first sentence (which is coincidentally about sex) is reported as though it is a true fact, whereas her claims to being beaten up are treated as nothing more than claims. Instead of being about "sex romps", shouldn't the headline have been about human rights abuses that the maid had to suffer by her sponsor?

I could write pages about the plight of foreign workers in Bahrain's legal system, but for today I wanted to focus on the media and specifically on the GDN's irresponsible reporting. GDN: please get your act together.
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2 Responses to 'Get your act together GDN'

Anonymous Anonymous says:

I agree. The GDN online is an embarrasment to Bahrain. Apart from the fact that the articles are of no importance, and not even news, there are grammer and spelling mistakes very regularly. Not to say i'm an expert at writing, but the mistakes i'm talking about are really, really bad. The articles are literally like something out of a 16 yr. olds journal. I mean, cooking recipes and a silly poem in the middle of an article about a saudi man who's mobile got stolen from his car.. big deal, where's the news. This is all good compared the fact that their website is a complete joke. I mean, for god's sake get a freaking web design company to fix your crappy website!!    

Blogger Chanad says:

Yes, their website is embarassing. I don't think they have updated their layout for at least 4 or 5 years now. I guess there are alot of things they need to work on.

By the way, did you read the letter in today's paper about headlines, and the reply from the editor? It's hilarious. The editor gives his standard reply: "The headlines you criticise are typical of a tabloid newspaper anywhere in the world..."

I think I might be writing in myself one of these days.    

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