EIU: Bahrain more democratic

10 Jan, '11

In a GDN report entitled “Democracy Is Taking Root” this morning, it shows that Bahrain’s democracy has climbed fully eight ranks from 130 in 2008 to 122 this year according to an EIU report:

BAHRAIN is more democratic now than it was two years ago, according to a report by a leading research and analysis organisation.

The country climbed eight places in the Democracy Index 2010, which is compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit and covers 162 countries.

Bahrain was ranked as the 122nd most democratic country in the report, up from 130 in 2008, and scored 3.49 out of 10 on the report’s democracy scale.

However, if you read the actual report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, you will notice a few things that the GDN piece chose not to highlight; the first is the actual title of the report: “Democracy Index 2010: Democracy in Retreat“. The second is that the report should have investigated as to the reason for this benevolence while they and I certainly know that happenings over the past two years especially did not do democracy nor the promised reforms any favours. The recent corruption report is just one single case in point.

They should – if they used any journalistic ethics, that is – should have highlighted that this “improvement” is because other countries in the region having regressed even more than we have and that the general trend in this region continues to be authoritarian with the vestiges of democracy being minimal at best:

The average score of countries in the region declined from an already very low 3.54 in 2008 to 3.43 in 2010, almost a point below the next lowest-scoring region, Sub-Saharan Africa. The only improvement of any note between 2008 and 2010 occurred in Kuwait, which rose by 15 places in the global rankings to 114th. Kuwait improved as its parliamentary system—the most advanced in the Gulf, although still not able to check seriously the emir’s executive power—continued to mature and press freedoms also strengthened.

One of the reasons for democracy actually NOT taking root in our countries is specifically because journalists and the media refuse to rise up and do their duties in highlighting corruption, taking the government to task, demand access to information and the inculcation of transparency.

What we actually have here, and the GDN is one of those to blame in this country, is putting advertising revenues and subscriptions first and foremost rather than the attendance to noble journalistic calling. What they do as a matter of course is blindly drum up support for corruption and shy from reporting anything which might affect their revenues rather than fight it in every way possible; hence, the propagation of paper-bag journalism. So much so that the rallying cry of these so called journalists and media organisations has become: “Do you want an article with that, sir?”.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Lizardo says:

    Well Said godfather.

  2. Coolred38 says:

    It’s interesting you said this because while I was in Bahrain I wrote many letters to the GDN over the years…some of them created quite a stir and I was recognized by name by an interesting collection of people…and even though I had frequent talks with people from the paper about those letters and the fact that they did create a stir and they did make more people write in in response etc…I couldn’t get a job with them writing for the life of me. They always hemmed and hawed and gave me excuses.

    Yes they wanted my letters and actively pursued me to keep writing them…no they did not want my name officially associated with the paper in anyway…because what I wrote about highlighted things they couldn’t put their names on I guess.

    What passes for media in Bahrain was laughable in 1987 when I first arrived on the island. I looked at the GDN and thought..this isn’t a newspaper…it’s a social page for the Indian community for the most part….and it’s pretty much remained that for 25 years.

  3. Velvet Rose says:

    Very very very true…. The noble journalists,as you named them, get threatened in so many ways while the pro-government journalists get bribed by Lexus cars as was the case in AlWatan newspaper… Lamees Dhaif, who is always frank about what’s taking place in the country, get hammered to the extent that they close the newspaper that she was part of…. All this talk about transparency is just pen on paper

  4. Omar bin Abdulaziz says:

    Why do you want to stir unrest in the first place???

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