What a difference a day makes – the media shift in Bahrain and public perception

It’s often said that 24 hours in the newsroom is a unique experience and Bahrain’s media is no different. The island nation’s media has been reporting on the difficult situation the country is going through for the past couple of years. Wednesday the 15th of January was no different from the past couple of months in that the Kingdom’s English-language media were reporting on government efforts to keep the country safe (much of the focus was on social media and Twitter in particular. The below is a shot of the front page.

The Front Page of Bahrain's Gulf Daily News for the 15 January 2014

The Front Page of Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News for the 15 January 2014

That night, news leaked about national reconciliation talks between Bahrain’s Crown Prince and the largest opposition party Al-Wefaq. As expected, the local media carried the news on their front pages.

The front page of Gulf Daily News from the 16 January. Notice a change in tone?

The front page of Gulf Daily News from the 16 January. Notice a change in tone?

While I won’t discuss the politics of the issue, what I do find interesting is the remarkable shift in position over 24 hours and how groups are described by the media from the one issue to the other. While it may be easy to control the dialogue and the messaging for one of the parties in Bahrain, it’s not so easy to shift public perception. Time will tell what difference this particular 24 hours have made, not only to the media’s take on affairs but also how the public perceives the situation as reported in the media.

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