Great reporting from the frontline in Bahrain

Last weekend in Shanghai an ex-F1 driver I respect a great deal told me to ‘be careful’ and ‘back off’ on my Bahrain tweeting.

Although like many F1 VIPs he is on good terms with the Bahraini royal family, there was nothing sinister in his message – he was trying to do me a favour, and I guess protect me from any potential backlash from whoever might be monitoring what the media has been saying about the Bahrain GP. And perhaps more importantly about the decision makers who have ensured that the race is going ahead.

Although I’ve voiced the odd opinion on Twitter in recent weeks, I have for the most part been the messenger, referring people to news stories or video clips they might not have seen yet.

That process seems to have accelerated today as inevitably the story has switched into another gear. It’s due in no small part to the hard work of some of my British F1 media colleagues, who have spared no effort to get to the heart of what is going on in Bahrain.

If the authorities here thought that the FIA accredited journalists they are hosting this week were going to write solely about the race, they were mistaken. We are only on Wednesday, and already a lot of negative headlines are emerging from the country, and the opposition has had a chance to get its message across.

The guys have not only witnessed street activity for themselves, they have talked to people at the very heart of the story, on both sides.

So a big shout out in particular to Alan Baldwin (Reuters), Tom Cary (Daily Telegraph), Kevin Eason (The Times), Ian Parkes (Press Association) and Byron Young (Daily Mirror) for their efforts this week. Most if not all have had to  deal with critics who say they should stick to their day jobs, but the story of what’s been happening in Bahrain is so intertwined with the F1 race, it is impossible to ignore.

Some might contest the comparison, but there are echoes of Munich 1972 in that reporters who came to cover a sporting event have found themselves writing about something far from their usual experience, and done it with skill and fine judgement.

Let’s hope that the quality of the journalism is the only comparison we have to make this week.

13 Comments

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13 responses to “Great reporting from the frontline in Bahrain

  1. Mick

    Keep up the good work guys! And I hope the teams have the guts to be balanced and unhindered in their comments when asked for them this weekend, and that we don’t see too much publicity given to the ruling minority in meet & greets.

  2. Jeremy Chandler @transworldgp

    Can’t help thinking that the F1 journos should comment on the ‘situation’ when and where it intersects with the normal Grand Prix weekend . It seems as if they are actively seeking and encouraging stories outside their usual sphere of reporting . Sure it’s ‘interesting’ but there is no real benefit to adding fuel to the flames as it looks as if it is ultimately self serving .
    It is my fervent hope that the Bahrain race is a good one for all the right reasons ( Pirelli tyres and DRS ) and that the outcome is positive for all concerned regardless of certain peoples thoughts or ‘position’ on the running of this race .

  3. Dave

    I’m glad to hear that the F1 journalists are thinking like journalists first. The Bahrain authorities are probably still trying to figure out how reign them in without being heavy-handed. But I wonder if you guys are more concerned about the FIA pulling your credentials for not toeing the line.

  4. I hope they give you accreditation next gear

  5. Tristrum

    this is a disgrace! The race should not be going ahead, shows that Mr E is all about the $$$ and nothing more.

    Hope u guys stay safe!

  6. James Slone

    Take care out there guys.

  7. The Bahraini ruling family is about to learn the power of modern communication. And not to its benefit.
    Phil Brown

  8. hal90o0

    Thanks Adam, that is a good read. I want to hear the truth and not waffle.

  9. Steve C

    Adam, please watch your back and be careful.

  10. Well done to you and all the F1 journalists reporting on the wider situation.

  11. Whilst I have no issue with F1 journalists reporting trouble, it does feel like they’ve ‘gone looking’ for it. I would suggest they could have found some fairly unsavoury stuff in other places if they’d looked too. So I’ll reserve judgement slightly here I think. It’s also worth noting that the press coverage anything that happens this weekend will get is greatly increased and protesters know that, thus it could be a catalyst.

  12. Mick

    Good job the F1 journos are reporting the wider issues as it seems others have been banned from the country according to this guardian story. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/apr/20/f1-grand-prix-bahrain-journalists

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