Riyadh International Book Fair 2017 begins Wednesday

The exhibition this year will witness a strong presence of foreign publishing houses. (SPA)
Updated 08 March 2017
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Riyadh International Book Fair 2017 begins Wednesday

RIYADH: The Riyadh International Book Fair, the most awaited literary event in the capital, opens here Wednesday with the aim of facilitating and promoting exchanges between authors, publishers, those professionally concerned with books, and those who love reading.
The annual fair will be held under the patronage of King Salman, and is organized by the Ministry of Culture and Information (MoCI) at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center (RICEC) from March 8-18.
It is set to provide a cultural bridge between the Arab and wider worlds, and a networking platform for publishers, writers, scholars and academic institutions.
Culture and Information Minister Adel Al-Toraifi thanked King Salman for patronizing the 10-day fair.
The important cultural event, which attracts thousands of visitors daily, is set to witness the participation of as many as 550 local, Arab and international publishing houses, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday.
MoCI official Abdul Rahman Al-Assem said: “The exhibition this year will witness a strong presence of foreign publishing houses, which shows its importance and places it on the map of world exhibitions.”
The fair this year involves more publishing houses but fewer government authorities and corporations, he added.
“We have laid plans to evaluate the publishing houses that participate based on strict standards like sold books and the number of visitors frequenting them,” said Al-Assem, a member of the organizing committee. “These will be evaluated to see the extent of their participation in the coming years.”
Malaysia is the guest-of-honor country at this year’s event, which will have a diverse program and activities targeting different categories of visitors, including children and youths.
Al-Toraifi said: “Choosing Malaysia as the guest of honor is consistent with the distinctive ties between the two countries in political, economic, cultural and tourism fields.”
The book fair, which started over a decade ago, displays many books on Islam, Arab culture, history, medicine, law, science, technology, mass media and communication, a well as biographical accounts, fiction and novels available in popular languages including Arabic, English, French, Turkish, Urdu and Spanish.


Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

Umm Al-Qura was the first newspaper to be published during the time of Saudi Arabia's founder.
Updated 21 May 2018
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Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

  • It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz
  • Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924

MAKKAH: It is considered one of the most important and prestigious Saudi Arabian newspapers. 

It has witnessed crucial decisions in the country, observed the history of the region throughout a century, recording details of life in the Kingdom becoming a reference for historical decisions and events.

Umm Al-Qura’s Editor in Chief Abdullah Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has the support and supervision of Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, who has harnessed all the resources for its modern launch. Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924.

It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz. The headline in the first issue of the newspaper was “The Makkah Declaration,” and this story was accompanied by news and official statements.

Al-Ahmadi said that the paper continued its coverage during World War II, although its presses did stop for a period of up to eight weeks in 1924 before King Abdul Aziz ordered paper to be imported and printing to resume.

Umm Al-Qura’s first editor in chief was Sheikh Yusuf Yassin, who was followed by Rushdi Malhas. Both figures held diplomatic positions during King Abdul Aziz’s reign, along with Mohammed Saeed Abdul Maksoud, Fouad Shaker and Abdul Quddus Al-Ansari.

Al-Ahmadi added that the newspaper has monitored the personal stories of the Kingdom’s kings, giving precise details of the historical and political events of the last century. He added that it has the full Saudi archive and it has become a historical reference for history, the economy and politics.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper was a combination of news, sports and social events during 30 years of its foundation. It had adverts on some pages, reflecting the region’s identity and local, economic and cognitive dimensions.

Al-Ahmadi said that with its launch, the newspaper formed the memory, aspirations and ambitions of Saudi Arabia. It was the only media platform in which the world explored the local news, along with the cultural, educational and economic news. 

It covered their advocacy of the crucial decisions — notably the Palestinian cause that Saudi Arabia has defended since the time of its founder.

Umm Al-Qura’s editor in chief said his main concern, along with his former colleagues in the newspaper’s management, was its development and relaunch, pointing out that a number of challenges have been overcome. 

The newspaper has been developed across the board — from layout and content to its brand logo and colors, he said.

Al-Ahmadi added that new and modern printers have been provided, and the newspaper has improved in line with technical and modern changes. 

He said the government also helped restore the back issues damaged by moths.

The operation was carried out by specialized experts who supervised the whole operation to protect the issues from getting lost. All issues were archived online and missing issues are being updated, he added.

Al-Ahmadi said that the newspaper’s website will provide a digital media platform for the documentation process, giving integrated information about the newspaper.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has a website archive for researchers and academics. 

He added that a large number of master’s and doctorate degrees as well as surveys took place with the help of the newspaper that has become a historic reference for scholars and researchers.