Pro-opposition Maldives broadcaster shuts over threats

Raajje TV said threats to its employees over their reporting on the political crisis in the picturesque Indian Ocean archipelago had forced it to suspend broadcasts. (Courtesy Raajje TV Facebook)
Updated 09 February 2018
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Pro-opposition Maldives broadcaster shuts over threats

MALE, Maldives: A pro-opposition television network in the Maldives shut down Friday following threats to its staff, as the government continued a clampdown on dissent that has sparked international concern.
Raajje TV said threats to its employees over their reporting on the political crisis in the picturesque Indian Ocean archipelago had forced it to suspend broadcasts.
“The broadcaster received threats from government legislators and others,” said opposition lawmaker Eva Abdulla.
The Maldives was plunged into crisis this week when President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency and ordered the arrest of judges who had ordered the release of his political opponents.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Yameen to lift the state of emergency while UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has described Yameen’s actions as “an all-out assault on democracy.”
On Thursday a top UN official warned the Security Council that the situation was tense and may deteriorate even further.
Street protests have so far been relatively muted, but opposition and ruling parties have called their supporters onto the streets for rallies after Friday prayers.
Yameen, who has had almost all the political opposition jailed since he came to power in 2013, is resisted mounting international pressure over the crisis.
On Thursday he refused to meet with diplomats from the European Union, Germany and Britain who had traveled to the honeymoon island nation for talks.
China, India and several Western governments have advised their citizens against traveling to the Maldives in the light of the latest unrest.


Saudi minister endorses Arab News-Facebook cooperation for Hajj coverage

Updated 15 August 2018
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Saudi minister endorses Arab News-Facebook cooperation for Hajj coverage

  • Banten said the ministry is pleased to endorse the Arab News-Facebook cooperation as it enables news about the Hajj to reach a wider audience
  • Millions of people worldwide will be able to follow the pilgrimage via the official Arab News Facebook page

MAKKAH: The Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah has endorsed efforts between Arab News and Facebook to cooperate in covering the annual Muslim pilgrimage this year.

As almost 2 million people gather in Makkah for Hajj, this newspaper and the social media network will cooperate in the transmission of live broadcasts of the pilgrimage using 360-degree video technology.

This will allow millions of people worldwide to follow the pilgrimage via the official Arab News Facebook page.

Mohammed Saleh Banten, minister of Hajj and Umrah, was briefed on Arab News’ preparations to cover the pilgrimage, and met with members of its reporting team on Tuesday.

Banten said the ministry is pleased to endorse the Arab News-Facebook cooperation as it enables news about the Hajj to reach a wider audience.

People around the world will be able to see how Hajj is being performed, and the “array of services” provided by the Saudi government under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he added.

“Our endorsement of this cooperation comes out of our ministry’s belief in the importance of utilizing new technology … enabling us to show the world the blessed efforts (in serving pilgrims),” Banten said.

The minister was presented with an official Arab News press jacket, and saw the complementary umbrellas the newspaper is distributing to pilgrims as part of its corporate social responsibility efforts.

Faisal J. Abbas, Arab News Editor in Chief, briefed the minister, his deputy Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat, and other members of the ministry about the newspaper’s ongoing plan for digital transformation.

“We thank the minister for receiving our delegation and his understanding of the role of both local and international media,” said Abbas.

“Our coverage will focus particularly on the humanitarian aspects of Hajj and follow the touching stories of hundreds of nationalities coming from around the world in this unparalleled gathering. 

“Our cooperation with Facebook will ensure that we are able to broadcast these stories to previously unattainable audiences thanks to new technology.”

Fares Akkad, head of regional media partnerships at Facebook, said that the collaboration follows the success of the live broadcasts of Taraweeh prayers on Arab News’ Facebook page during Ramadan, which he said was “very popular.”

“Hajj is a unique event, and we are aware of its importance to millions around the world. Therefore, we are delighted with this collaboration, which enables more people to participate in this blessed event. These efforts are part of our commitment to regional communication, particularly in Saudi Arabia,” Akkad said.

Starting today, Arab News publishes a series of special reports from the Kingdom and around the world on Hajj rituals, as well as offering 24-hour coverage through its digital platforms and Pakistan-focused website.