Minister wants higher salaries for journalists

March 16, 2013

Bahrain’s state minister for information has called for better pay for journalists to help them carry out their “highly sensitive” work.

“The media sector is among the most sensitive sectors and is not less significant than the military or the judiciary,” Sameera Rajab said. “The media sector is crucial in providing the information and shaping public opinion in all societies. The mission of a media person is not the regular or administrative work, but rather a highly dynamic mission that requires special budgets,” she told the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament.

Sameera, a former columnist who was appointed state minister for information in April last year, said that media people needed special incentives as they lived “under constant and heavy pressures from all sides”.

“There is a significant need to protect the media and media people from all threats and risks, the way judges and military officers are protected,” she said. “There must be full support to media people both in the public and private sectors because their work is very special and deserves special care,” she said as she discussed the status of media people in Bahrain.

The state minister said that the average monthly salary of a Bahraini media person was 600 Bahraini dinars (Dh5,810).

“When we look at other countries, we see that the monthly average in Qatar and the UAE is 3,000 dinars. It is 1,800 dinars in Britain and much higher for those working in the broadcasting sector. In France, the average salary is 1,700 dinars while those who work for the New York Times receive 2,700 dinars on average,” she said.

Several well-known people working in the media received exceptionally high salaries, she said.

“Protecting media people is in fact a way of protecting the nation and, therefore, there is a need to support the media sector and to restructure salaries,” she said.

The Bahrain Journalists Association (BJA) is the vocational umbrella to help improve the living conditions and professional standards of Bahrain-based media people.

Bahrain has five dailies in Arabic and two in English in addition to several weekly and monthly magazines.

Sameera, a former member of the Shura Council, the upper chamber of the parliament, is one of two women with portfolios in the government.

The other woman, Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammad Al Khalifa, is the minister of culture.



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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