Two media centers and 618 journalists to cover Arab Summit in Dhahran

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The Minister of Culture and Information visits the Media Center in Ithra and Mercure to check on media coverage. (SPA)
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The Minister of Culture and Information visits the Media Center in Ithra and Mercure to check on media coverage. (SPA)
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The media center at Ithra. (SPA)
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Inside the media center at Hotel Mercure. (SPA)
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Inside the media center at Ithra. (SPA)
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Inside the media center at Ithra. (SPA)
Updated 14 April 2018
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Two media centers and 618 journalists to cover Arab Summit in Dhahran

  • 423 reporters from international news agencies accredited to cover 29th Arab Summit
  • 25 young Saudis at 2 media centers to assist more than 600 journalists

DHAHRAN: The Ministry of Culture and Information has set up two media centers to cover the 29th Arab Summit, which opens on Sunday in the city of Dhahran.
One of the centers is in the Hotel Mercure in Alkhobar, while the second is in the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran.
Culture and Information Minister Awwad Al-Awwad on Saturday visited the media center in the Hotel Mercure in Dhahran to check preparations set by the ministry for the coverage of the summit.
The center is managed by 25 young Saudis, and provides support and assistance to more than 600 journalists.
The journalists include 423 reporters from outside the Kingdom, representing the most significant Arab, Islamic and international news agencies and channels.
Khaled Mataen, the ministry’s director of media and public relations with foreign media, said: “The ministry has equipped the centers with the latest equipment. They include computers, and a complete Internet network that allows journalists to send their news and reports faster. They also include fax machines, international phone lines and studios for live coverage using satellites for all local and international channels.”
He said: “A group of young Saudis are managing the centers. They will be ready to offer any assistance the journalists may need from data, statistics and information. This would make their jobs easier either in the centers or on the field with tasks related to the summit coverage.”
Mataen said “their job also consists on keeping up with all news related to the summit on different news channels and on social media platforms and displaying them on a live screen for the journalists in the media centers.”
He said that “the number of registered journalists to cover the Arab summit has reached 618. Among those are journalists from international news agencies in addition to satellite channels reached through the Ministry’s Government Communication Center and International Communication Center.”
Algerian journalist Kareem Ali Loch said he was happy to be covering the summit.
He commended the ministry’s efforts to help journalists covering the event.
Turkish state television journalist Talib Abdullah Oglo praised the media service and equipment provided in the media centers.
He also thanked the organizers for the facilities and their welcoming reception.
Al-Awwad inspected the summit’s interactive statistics charts that show the number of journalists taking part in its coverage.


Iran BBC reprisals trigger media ouctry

BBC Persian presenter Rana Rahimpour says journalists are unable to visit Iran for family funerals. (Facebook)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Iran BBC reprisals trigger media ouctry

  • Iran this week faced a media industry outcry over its alleged systematic targeting of BBC Persian Service
  • Britain’s National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said that it would continue to campaign to stop the harassment of the BBC Persian journalists

LONDON: Iran this week faced a media industry outcry over its alleged systematic targeting of BBC Persian Service journalists including the “sexual defamation” of female staff.
It follows a move by the European Parliament to back a resolution criticizing the treatment of BBC Persian service journalists by Iranian authorities.
Writing in The Guardian, veteran UK media commentator Roy Greenslade said that “too little attention has been paid to an insidious long-run campaign of persecution by the Iranian authorities against the staff of the BBC Persian service.”
“As they stand, the facts are shocking,” said Greenslade. “Unable to get their hands on BBC Persian’s London-based staff, Iran’s police intimidate their relatives inside Iran. They freeze their assets, which has the effect of preventing them buying and selling property. They arrest them arbitrarily, interrogating them for hours at a time and often detaining them for days in prison.”
Britain’s National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said that it would continue to campaign to stop the harassment of the BBC Persian journalists. “We are pleased the European Parliament and the UN Human Rights Council have supported our calls for Iran to stop targeting BBC journalists in London and their families in Iran,” Sarah Kavanagh, NUJ senior campaigns and communications officer, told Arab News.
“We will continue campaigning until the authorities stop the harassment and persecution.”
Press Gazette, the UK media industry trade publication, also reported on the story on Monday and quoted MEP Jude Kirton-Darling who drew attention to smear campaigns aimed at some female Persian Service staff who have had their faces superimposed on pornographic images. “I would particularly like to raise awareness about the sexualized defamation campaigns being waged against brave female journalists at BBC Persian and I would call on the EU to no longer be silent about this attack on European women, European journalists.
“We have a duty and a responsibility to defend free journalism.”
Last week the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Professor Javaid Rehman, presented his first report to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
He told the Council that he “deplores” the harassment of BBC Persian staff. He also raised concerns about attacks on BBC Persian journalists in Iranian state media, with fake and defamatory news being published to undermine their reputations.
The BBC took the unprecedented step of directly appealing to the UN in 2017, in what was the first time the broadcaster has ever engaged with the body about the treatment of its journalists.
BBC Persian presenter Rana Rahimpour told the council about her own experience and how her father was subjected to a travel ban to prevent him from visiting her after her first child was born.
International counsel for the BBC World Service, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jennifer Robinson, have filed a further complaint to the UN over the reprisals BBC Persian journalists have faced.
They said, “Reprisals against BBC Persian journalists and their families for engaging with the UN is not just an attack on freedom of expression, but an attack on the integrity of the UN system. Such reprisals must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”
Simon Spanswick, CEO of Association for International Broadcasting, said his organization “deplores any and all attempts to interfere with the work” of legitimate media companies.
“The case of BBC Persian staff and their families is one of a growing number of cases where broadcasting organizations and those that work for them are being intimidated,” he said.
“The case has been raised by the BBC at the UN through a complaint — the first it has ever made to the UN. The UN Special Rapporteur on Iran has included the case in his report to the UN Human Rights Council. We look forward to seeing the response of the Iranian government on this case which is, in effect, a jurisprudence dragnet.”
Sherif Mansour, the Middle East and North Africa program coordinator at the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, said there was a “wider story” of intimidation of journalists by Tehran, especially dual-national Iranian media workers.
Many Iranian journalists had been “portrayed as tools of foreign intervention and included in conspiracy theories,” Mansour said.