News agencies embrace information technology

Updated 23 November 2013

News agencies embrace information technology

Abdul Aziz Khoja, minister of culture and information, launched the fourth News Agencies World Congress (NAWC) in Riyadh on Monday. Khojah is also the chairman of the board of directors of the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA), which is hosting the congress. He called upon the media fraternity at the largest gathering of international media to brace themselves for the challenges faced by the information technology sector in the 21st century.
“Today, the world is full of changes and contradictions,” he said. “Media play an important role as a communicator around the world. The main goal of this media conference is to get a better understanding of new developments and the future role of media around the world. We aim to share experiences and expertise.” The minister hoped the conference would lay foundations for positive cooperation among news agencies in the world during the three-day brainstorming session.
“The Kingdom always supports humanitarian work and we see the role of the media as an enforcer of humanitarian aspects,” he maintained. “Saudi Arabia is setting up dialogues and reaching out to all cultures.” International communication is an excellent opportunity for sound dialogue, he said.
He said, “We have made ample progress in media objectivity in the Kingdom.”
The Kingdom’s private and public media outlets are very keen to adopt the latest developments taking place at a local, regional and international level, the minister stated.
Abdullah bin Fahad Al-Hussein, SPA president, stressed the importance of technological development for the growth of the media industry.
Al-Hussein, who is also NAWC chairman, called on the media to improve skills among personnel and to stick to the ethics of the profession.
He said that the SPA is hosting this international conference for the first time in the Middle East region, the fourth in a series of conferences.

In 2004, Russia hosted the first NAWC at an invitation from the Russian agency Itar-Tass. The second congress was held in Spain in 2007 at an invitation from the Spanish news agency Efe and the third congress was hosted by Argentine in 2010 at an invitation from the Argentine national news agency Telam.
“We are hoping that the Riyadh congress contributes to strengthening cooperation between news agencies around the world to serve the interest of future programs and plans leading to the enhancement of professionalism in news agencies,” the NAWC chairman asserted.
He hoped that the discourse at this convention would enrich the work of the congress and reach positive outcomes for the media.
Clive Marshall, executive director of the British Press Association Agency, emphasized the importance of the fourth news agencies congress in the wake of ongoing development and the impact of Internet technologies on the media in the world contributing to the rapid spread of information.
He urged media personalities to take advantage of Internet technologies and social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Saudi Arabia clarifies travel rules on students studying abroad

Updated 14 min 35 sec ago

Saudi Arabia clarifies travel rules on students studying abroad

  • General Directorate of Passports says all students are exempt from requiring permit from guardian
  • Exemption applies even if they are under 21 and traveling abroad to study

RIYADH: All Saudi students studying oversees will no longer need a permit from their guardians when they travel, even if they are under the age of 21.

Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports announced Monday that students will only require proof of their scholarship from the Ministry of Education.

The clarification comes after a sweeping set of reforms announced in a royal decree last month gave the right of every Saudi citizen to obtain a passport. A guardian’s approval is only needed for children.

Ther passports directorate also said Monday that after the death of both parents, a sibling above the age of 21 can provide a travel permit to a minor, provided he or she has been designated the legal guardian by a judge’s order.

The July 30 royal decree was widely welcomed in both the Kingdom and around the world. Among the most important changes to the law was that Saudi women no longer required permission from a male guardian to travel or obtain a passport.