Information Affairs Authority (IAA) President Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, who received the Gold Medal for Excellence and Quality in the Arab World, said that the Bahrain News Agency (BNA) has set a new benchmark in media excellence in the media field.
The award was granted by the Arab Administrative Development Organization and Tatweej Academy for Excellence, in recognition of IAA’s Bahrain News Agency (BNA)’s distinguished efforts in the media field.
This came during the ceremony organized, at ballroom of the Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa under the patronage of Dubai Crown Prince Shaikh Hamadn bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, by the Arab League’s Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO) and Tatweej Academy for Excellence and Quality to honour 14 local and Arab personalities and 31 institutions with clear imprints in the fields of excellence and quality, marking UAE’s 40th National Day.
Shaikh Fawaz asserted that granting the Gold Medal for Excellence and Quality in the Arab World to IAA, represented by BNA, reflects the advanced level reached by the Bahraini official media, in light of the incessant support of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander.
IAA President also praised Dubai Crown Prince’s patronage of the event, which, he said, testifies to his keen interest to honour distinguished Arab leading figures and institutions.
He also pointed out that the Arab appreciation and acclaim of IAA’s media strides coincides with its creativity and excellence drive embedded in its five-year strategy (2011-2016), inaugurated last June, 2011, placing high priority on enhancing press and media freedom and upgrading media sector on the basis of credibility, transparency, fairness and sustainability for the aim of improving performance quality and promoting media creativity and development, with a framework of respect to different views and commitment to media ethics, in line with the Economic Vision for Bahrain, 2030.
Shaikh Fawaz also noted that BNA has been, for more than four decades, among the most incredible sources of local, GCC and Arab news and coped with the modernization and development march witnessed by the kingdom thanks to HM King Hamad’s pioneering Reform Project, and has always highlighted the kingdom’s strides and landmark achievements attained during HM King Hamad’s prosperous era.
He also stressed that BNA has developed steadily and become the main source of news, especially the local ones, since it is the official media body representing the kingdom at all functions.
Shaikh Fawaz indicated that, thanks to IAA’s Media Strategy, BNA has undergone major positive changes in order to keep abreast of the most developed systems adopted by many world news agencies, which, he asserted, is reflected by many indices showing that BNA daily stories increased from 90 to 150, the average number of people who log on its website daily has risen from 2000 to 15000, and 42000 are currently following its Arab, English and French Twitter accounts, which proves that it has surpassed its GCC counterparts regarding social networking services.
IAA President also affirmed that BNA’s new-look website keeps pace with modern technology in the field of electronic media, citing the activation of new services such as “BNA Video,” creation of accounts on social networks and the inauguration of BNA Channel on You Tube, a service which has attracted up to 773000 viewers since last April.
BNA is also among the first GCC and Arab news agencies which provide live coverage of functions and conferences on its website, he added.
Shaikh Fawaz also indicated that the relocation of BNA to the News Centre has enabled it to expand its services and develop its work mechanisms since it has enabled it to have easy access to all the centre’s technical services, which, he said, has ensured timely coverage of events.
Regarding smart mobile phones, BNA has launched many smart phones’ applications to enable its followers to be up-to-date with the latest news, he also said, asserting that over 13200 programmes have been downloaded from BNA’s website on mobile phones.
Shaikh Fawaz also emphasized that BNA is currently the only GCC news agency that provides the “Graphic News” services.
“GCC Information Ministers’ approval of BNA’s proposal to set up a unified GCC account on social networking systems (Facebook, Twitter and You Tube), considered to be the fastest GCC project to be implemented, is a living proof of the success of BNA’s development programme,” IAA President said.
Shaikh Fawaz pointed out that the positive changes witnessed by BNA at all levels, which entitled it to be similar to major world news agencies, reflect the role it has played in upgrading GCC media, in general, and Bahraini media in particular, stressing that BNA’s development plan is still in its first phase and that it will undergo many landmark changes at all levels.
The Director-General of the Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO) Dr. Refat Al Faouri delivered a statement at the beginning of the ceremony in which he praised holding such an event to honour outstanding Arab figures and institutions in tribute to their pioneering efforts in the fields of excellence and quality.
Then, Tatweej Academy for Excellence and Quality President Pierre Moukarzel addressed those present and commended the efforts exerted by those honoured; asserting that recognition of such elite is a real honouring of Arab creativity.
President of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority Shaikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum presented medals to 14 local and Arab figures and 31 institutions, with outstanding contributions in the fields of excellence and quality.