Ministers urged to boost contacts through personal Twitter accounts

March 14, 2012

Ministers in Bahrain are being urged to open personal Twitter accounts to help boost communication with the people.

“A personal account by a minister has a highly positive effect on the citizens and creates a great channel of communication with the world,” Mohammad Al Ahmad, a journalist, said. “There have been many shining examples where ministers communicated directly with the people and achieved great results. I can refer to the case of the Saudi national who was allowed in Bahrain thanks to the communication on Twitter he had with the foreign minister,” he said.

Last week, Turki Abdul Hay, a Saudi journalist, tweeted Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa to inform him that he had not been allowed to enter Bahrain.

A few minutes later, Shaikh Khalid apologized to the journalist and told him that there had been a mistake and that the interior minister had issued directives to allow him in.

“It was a remarkable case that showed that direct communication with ministers can remove obstacles and expedite matters,” Al Ahmad said.

Twitter accounts held by ministries and institutions might not be prompt in addressing issues, he said.

“The major difference is that official accounts, unlike personal accounts, send tweets and do not receive them. When I tweet a minister, I am confident that he will read my message whereas when I send it to a ministry or official institution, I do not know what happens to it, how or if it flows and who reads it,” Al Ahmad said.

In Bahrain, beside Shaikh Khalid, other ministers who have accounts and a large number of followers include the justice minister, the president of the Information Affairs Authority, the media advisor to the king and the human rights and social development minister.

“I believe that a minister’s account not only allows direct and unobstructed communication, but also gives him or her a new dimension that helps build better relations,” Dua Abdul Aziz, an e-media expert, said. “I was particularly pleased when for example a minister tweets about a trip or an excursion or an addition to the family. I find that cool and refreshing,” she said.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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