MANAMA, BAHRAIN — Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Thursday, April 13, paid a courtesy visit to Bahrain Ministry of Information Affairs (MIA) in Manama to pursue a mutual agreement between the two government agencies.
“We are rebuilding the Philippine News Agency, and we will ensure that it goes hand in hand with the building of the Salaam Television Network in the Philippines. It is the first Muslim, first Islamic channel in the Philippines that the government is building. It is going to be exciting and it is one of the reasons that I came here to talk to the Ministry of Information and the Bahraini News Agency, so we could somehow strike a cooperation and we can learn from Bahraini News Agency and the Bahraini Broadcasting, especially in the nuances of broadcasting in Muslim or based on Islamic culture,” the Communications Chief said.
He was greeted and toured in the complex by MIA officials led by Engr. Abdulla Ahmed Al Balooshi, general director of technical and technology affairs, who represents Information Affairs Minister Ali bin Mohammed Al-Rumaihi in welcoming Secretary Andanar.
A traditional welcome drink of Arabic coffee greeted Andanar and his entourage as the Communications Chief and the General Director exchanged pleasantries inside the receiving room of the Minister’s Office. Afterwards, he was led to view the state-of-the-art radio and television broadcast facilities.
“This is such a beautiful city, beautiful country. I also am very impressed by your television station and, of course, the Bahraini News Agency, what used to be the Gulf News Agency. I do think and agree that you are leading the way in news wire agency, Certainly, we can learn so much from the Bahraini News Agency, and this is a good step forward. I’m also looking forward that both our countries, both our agencies–the Philippine News Agency and the Bahrain News Agency–can work together very, very soon,” the Communications Chief said.
First stop was the 800-square-meter Production Studio 1, featuring a beehive interior motif and wall-to-floor video screen. Next, Andanar was ushered in the headquarters of the Bahraini News Agency, which has the Arabic, English, Social Media, and Internet sections. He then led to the News Center, which showcases a fixed and movable video walls, and Radio Bahraini which has a large studio that can be used for multipurpose production.
The Bahraini News Agency, Balooshi explained, has four television stations and nine radio stations. He also added the TV broadcast has already switched to digital, while the radio is in process to transition to digital broadcasting.
“So once you finished that, the nine radio stations can be multiplied to how many, 10 programs per channel in a digital platform. So you will have 90. The problem now is the content. Maybe, we can work out a mutual understanding where we can put Filipino programming,” Secretary Andanar proposed, considering there are about 60,000 Filipinos living and working in Bahrain.
An exchange of present took place where the Communications Chief gave a scale model of a “vinta”, or a traditional boat from Mindanao, to show his appreciation to his host. In return, he received an age-old memento from Balooshi.
Those who welcomed Secretary Andanar, aside from Balooshi, were officials of MIA and Information Affairs Authority (IAA) led by Abdulla Khalid Alnassar Al Dosseri, director of news, and Engr. Jasim Khaled (MIA) Al Jumairi Al hajri, head of microwave. Also, Yousif Mohammed Ismail, Director of TV of (IAA); Abdulla Buhejji, IAA’s director for public relations and marketing directorate; and Hosam Zaineddein, head of news of IAA.