The Information Affairs Authority (IAA) is the government body in charge of the affairs of internal and external formal media in the kingdom, and supervises all media outlets, including newspapers, magazines, publications, radio and TV stations and websites. It has been presided by His Excellency Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa since July 8th, 2010.
Achieving national interests and safeguarding national unity, security, stability and civic peace so as to ensure the continuity of the political and democratic reform march and economic development and protection of human right and basic freedoms, in a way that reflects the landmark strides attained during the prosperous era of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, top IAA's priorities.
Bahraini media: institutional and legislative development:
The establishment of the Information Affairs Authority dates back to 1940 when radio transmission started in the Kingdom. Then, the building of the Bahrain wireless radio station was opened on July 21st, 1955, television broadcasting began in 1973, the Bahrain TV was set up in 1975 and the Bahrain News Agency (BNA) was launched in 1976, under the name of the "Gulf News Agency".
The Kingdom joined the field of modern journalism for the first time in 1939 with the establishment of the "Bahrain Newspaper", which was followed by the issuance of a number of newspapers and magazines of various inclinations political, societal, economic, cultural and artistic dailies or weeklies. The Press Law was issued in 1953 which was replaced by another Press Law on 24 November 1954.
The first government information authority in Bahrain was established on July 26th, 1965, under the name of "Information Department of the Government of Bahrain", chaired by Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, when Radio Bahrain Station joined the Information Department as per Decree by Law No. (2) for the year 1970 organizing state administration led by Dr. Mohammed bin Jaber Al-Ansari on January 19th, 1970 and then again led by Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa on April 18th, 1971, along with his responsibilities as Foreign Affairs Minister.
A number of ministers assumed the Information Affairs portfolio, which saw numerous developments in its administrative and organizational structures as well as technologies used and the its name was changed more than once as follows:
Creation of first Information Ministry led by the late Minister Tariq Abdulrahman Al-Moayyed after the Kingdom of Bahrain gained its independence on 15 August 1971 and the first cabinet was formed in 1973, and the Decree No. (18) for the year 19875 was issued reorganizing the state administration which included the Ministry of Information at that time comprising four departments: Radio and TV Directorate, Printing Directorate, Culture and Arts Directorate and Administrative and financial Affairs Directorate.
Two new directorates were also added namely: Tourism and Heritage in 1978-1981 respectively.
TV became government-run after changing the name of R.T.V company to Bahrain TV. TV broadcast began on channel (55) English in 1981. Radio Bahrain was launched in the Information Ministry's premises in 1982 as well as the transmission of the Holy Koran programs in 1983.
Bahrain Radio and TV general program's broadcasts started around the o'clock as from 1 December 1990. And began in 1992 for Bahrain TV. Actual broadcast from Bahrain News Agency (BNA) began in 1978. The Printing and Publication Law No. (14) for the year 1979 was issued before it was replaced by the current applicable Law.
Re-organizing the Ministry of Information as per Decree No.: (9) for the year 1985 including ten departments namely: TV, Radio, Admin and Financial Affairs, Government Press, PR and newspapers, Tourism and Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, Culture and Arts, Catering and Hotel Training Institute and Decree No.: (5) for the year 1986 was issued creating and reorganizing (the National Council for Culture and Fine and Literary Arts) annexed to the Ministry of Information.
Creation of Radio and TV Corporation as per Decree by Law No. (1) for the year 1993 which assumed audio-visual broadcast affairs in the Kingdom and acquired its corporate entity and independent budget and has its own board of directors comprising ten members from amongst radio and TV staff and public personalities and a representative from the Ministry of finance. Also, another Decree by Law No.: (10) for the year 1993 was issued regarding copyright protection.
Reorganizing the Ministry of Information on 25 April 1995: the Ministry of Information was restructured in order to comprise the Administrative and Financial Affairs Department, PR and Information Services Department both under the Ministry's undersecretary in addition to four departments namely: Culture and Arts, Museums and Heritage, Publications, and the Government Press under the Ministry's assistant undersecretary for culture and national heritage in addition to the directorate of tourism, catering and hotels training center both of which under the Ministry's assistant undersecretary for tourism. However, the Radio and TV Corporation continued its work as an independent corporation under the Ministry of Information.
Mohammed Ebrahim Al Mutawa became the Information Minister on June 26th, 1995 when it was re-organized under the name of "Cabinet Affairs and Information Ministry". A chief executive officer was appointed for the Radio and TV Corporation with undersecretary portfolio on 3 March 1993. Then, a Decree was issued on 18 November 1996 reorganizing the Ministry in order to include the Information Affairs with its specialized departments, as well as Cabinet Affairs.
Also, another decree No. (17) for the year 1999 was issued reorganizing the Ministry once again renaming it as the Ministry of Information comprising general administration for newspapers and external media, wireless frequencies and monitoring licensing department under the Minister as well as three departments under the Ministry's assistant undersecretary for tourism, another three departments under the assistant undersecretary for culture and national heritage, and printing and publication department under the assistant undersecretary for admin, financial and services affairs. Bahrain Radio and TV Corporation continued under the Minister of Information and a touristic projects company was incorporated under the Minister.
Appointment of Nabeel Yagoub Al-Hammer as Minister of Information on 17 April 2001 and he continued to manage the Ministry's affairs until when he was appointed as Advisor for His Majesty the King for Information Affairs on 14 January 2005.
Decree by Law No.: (47) for the year 2002 was issued organizing the press, printing and publications which is the currently applicable law. This law is more advanced that its predecessors and stipulates in most of its provisions for the performance of newspapers for their mission freely and independently and journalists' right in obtaining information. Also, another Decree No. (41) for the year 2004 was issued reorganizing Bahrain Radio and TV Corporation in order to comprise a department for marketing and promotion, department of human and financial resources under its CEO and the General Department of News comprising the department of news, Bahrain News Agency in addition to the general department for technical affairs and the general directorate for Radio and TV.
Appointment of Dr. Mohammed Abdul-Ghaffar as Minister of Information on 14 July 2005 and reorganizing the Ministry on 5 July 2007 to comprise ministry undersecretary in charge of PR department, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) under the Minister; and, the assistant undersecretary for newspapers and external information, the assistant undersecretary for culture and national heritage and the assistant undersecretary for printing and publications, and the assistant undersecretary for tourism and the assistant undersecretary for human and financial resources.
Also, Law No. (22) for the year 2006 was issued regarding copyright and associated rights' protection.
Jehad Hussain Bu Kamal assumed the Ministry of Information on 25 September 2007. Royal Decree No.: (18) for the year 2008 was issued creating the (Isa bin Salman Cultural Center) which provides books and publications, organizes activities, exhibitions and conferences and encourages creative thinking culture in various fields
Shaikha Mai became Minister of Culture and Information on 18 November 2008. The Ministry's name was changed to become Ministry of Culture and Information as per Decree No.: (104) for the year 2008.
Establishment and Organization of the Information Affairs Authority
His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued, on July 8th, 2010, Royal Decree (31) for the year 2010, renaming the Culture and Information Ministry into the (Ministry of Culture) and establishing the Information Affairs Ministry (IAA), to be in charge of all media affairs stipulated in the Kingdom's laws and regulations. In Royal Decree (33) for the same year, HE Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa has been appointed as IAA President with the rank of Minister.
Under Royal Decree (34) for the year 2010, IAA will have many directorates and bodies in order to be able to carry out its duties of upgrading the national media and improving it so as to keep abreast of the fast-growing developments in fields of information, communication and new media.