Marc Owen Jones

Published On


Page Range

pp. 145-162

Print Length

17 pages

9. Bahrain

Media-Assisted Authoritarianism

Chapter of: Arab Media Systems(pp. 145–162)
The media ecosystem in Bahrain has primarily been shaped by the security interests of the ruling family and its formal and informal protectors, initially the British, and following Independence in 1971, Saudi Arabia and the United States. From its inception just before the Second World War, to the Uprising of 2011, television, radio, and the local press have been leveraged as a means of distributing state propaganda and public relations. Technological change has been embraced, but only to the extent it facilitates Bahrain’s neoliberal development as a commercial ICT hub. The rise of citizen journalism, social media, and de-spatialized technologies has prompted some resistance to this top-down media-assisted authoritarianism, but the regime has adapted to instrumentalize these new technologies as instruments of surveillance.