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Where's Bahrain in the news?

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Rajan Datar | 08:21 UK time, Friday, 20 May 2011

The coverage of the Arab Spring has dominated the news agenda for recent months, but some listeners think that one country - Bahrain - has been missed off that agenda.

"There's very little coverage of events in Bahrain," commented one listener, and from Bahrain came the suggestion that there is some form of censorship of Bahrain's news, comparing the coverage of Syria in US and western media with that of coverage of Bahrain.

So I asked Steve Metcalfe, a media analyst at BBC Monitoring, how much international coverage there has been of the situation in Bahrain.

He pointed out that the major Arabic channels find it a sensitive issue to deal with, as the major channel Al Jazeera is based in Qatar, a neighbouring country.

He noted that it is also complicated because one source that has been giving coverage is Iranian media.

In terms of media in Bahrain, Steve explained that there is one local channel, which is state run, and half a dozen newspapers, of which one used to be in support of the opposition, so for mainstream media the picture that is given is very one-sided inside Bahrain.

Away from the Arab Spring, next week sees the final of the football Champions League at Wembley - the World Service will be covering it and I asked Sportsworld's commentator on the match, Richard Connolly, how the World Service is limbering up for the match of the year.

It's by no means the biggest final he has reported on as he covered the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008 and he believes it will be the most watched and listened to sporting event of this year.

He compared the quality of the club teams with that of the national teams in the World Cup and suggests that the Champions League final is the pinnacle of the game - "this is as good as it gets', he suggested.

I hope that whet's your appetite for the game, and we'd like to hear your comments and reactions to this and anything else you hear on the World Service, as usual.

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You.

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. Broadcast times can be found by clicking here.

Listen to previous episodes of Over To You
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Send the team your feedback by email (overtoyou@bbc.co.uk), telephone (44 144 960 9000), SMS (447786 202006) or by leaving comments on this blog


  • Comment number 1.

    Thank you for telling us why Al Jazeera did what it did, but I think we were listening to "Over to you" to hear why the BBC is avoiding Bahrain in the news bulletins.

    Also, the BBC World Service has for the last couple of years broadcast the UEFA Champions League final live. So rather than worth reporting, it was just a cheap commercial for this weekends game.

  • Comment number 2.

    The real question, is where is the BBC's coverage of Palestine? Your company prides itself on being a global player in international news, and you somehow miss out on this entire region? Fat chance

    The BBC has shown time and time again their blatant biase towards the State of Israel. First by interviewing the Hamas Foreign minister and making him sound like a tyrant by the questions of the interviewer, then by censoring the songs of those rappers when they mentioned the Gaza Strip. You people should be ashamed of yourselves for all the disinformation you put out there ("Coming up next, why do people still believe vaccines are harmful" is one recent example)

    You guys recently downsized am I correct (heard it announced on your show as I was driving to work) Put two and two together. The human race is becoming more and more aware, and the truth can now flow like a fast river over the entire world. Your revenue is declining because you people lie. And you continue to loose viewers to the people who tell the truth. You can now add another one to that list

    JD from Chicago

  • Comment number 3.

    As JD says, downsized. Oh yes.
    No blog for this week. Okay it's a public holiday and long weekend in the UK but also no podcast. Again.
    And still the problems with the link from programmes and podcasts leading to here, the blog, and not to the list of Over To You programmes.
    Once upon a time this would have been fixed quicly but not now, oh no.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  • Comment number 4.

    Piet Boon is bang on the money .We want the BBC to justify its negiligence when covering the Bahrain story not what may be the influence on other broadcasters.Having said that ,Aljazeera has still had more to say about Bahrain despite the sensitivities referred to.
    Now that restoring the F1 event has hit the news,Bahrain is getting some coverage albeit mainly in the sports pages/programmes.
    I am afraid the charge of self censoring or external influences (Foreign Office?) have not been fully answered.It is equally difficult to report on Syria and Yemen but we get daily coverage of events in those two countries.You must do better.

  • Comment number 5.

    I am fed up with hearing the BBC repeat the same tired news items multiple times during their news programs. Especially when they waste time repeating the same information 2-3 times in each mention (first by the news reader then by the reporter - almost identical, and then repeated by the news reader later).

    Wasting time like this allows the BBC to hide (not mention) all the many other news items - like the latest on Bahrain, Libya, Palestine, Illegal fishing off Somalia, Iceland etc - which are REAL news.


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