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.


Popular New Zealand website seeks comments detox after Christchurch attack

Updated 26 March 2019
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Popular New Zealand website seeks comments detox after Christchurch attack

  • “The individual is segregated from other prisoners and able to be observed 24 hours a day, either directly by staff and/or via CCTV camera,” it said in a statement

WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s largest news website, Stuff, cracked down on reader comments Tuesday after the Christchurch mosque massacre sparked debate about how the media handles online hate.
The stuff.co.nz site said it aimed to host a welcoming online environment but conceded “too often, our comments section has allowed casual prejudice to seep in from the fringes.”
“Of the comments that are posted, most are fair expression — but it only takes a little toxin to poison an entire stream,” Stuff editor-in-chief Patrick Crewdson wrote on the website.
Christchurch shooting accused Brenton Tarrant is believed to have posted a rambling “manifesto” online before a gun rampage at two mosques that claimed 50 lives in the South Island city on March 15.
Tarrant, an Australian white supremacist, apparently made references in the document designed to maximize mainstream media coverage of his actions.
He also livestreamed the attack and the footage was aired by some media outlets — although New Zealand authorities have since banned both the video and the document.
The atrocity, the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history, has prompted soul-searching among journalists and media outlets about how to stop extremists using them as a vehicle to spread extreme views.
“The accused’s abhorrent ideology was rehearsed in the darkest corners of the web, not on mainstream news sites, but it’s still timely for us to check the health of Stuff’s comments section,” Crewdson wrote.
He said the site’s moderators would clamp down on personal attacks and prejudice, while the ability to upvote or downvote comments would be removed.

In addition, comments will be permanently disabled on a range of contentious topics, including the Christchurch shootings, Israel/Palestine, vaccinations and transgender issues.
“We’ll be accused of censorship and curtailing free speech, others will say we should shutter the comments section entirely,” Crewdson said.
Stuff, formerly Fairfax New Zealand, is one of New Zealand’s largest media companies, with newspaper mastheads including the Christchurch Press and Wellington’s Dominion Post.
Its flagship news website stuff.co.nz is New Zealand’s most popular with around 1.8 million unique viewers a month, just ahead of the other major player, nzherald.co.nz.
Meanwhile, authorities have confirmed Tarrant’s next court appearance will be in Christchurch, even though he is believed to have been moved to a prison elsewhere in the country.
The Justice Department confirmed his next scheduled appearance is in Christchurch High Court on Friday, April 5, although it is unclear if he will be physically present in the dock or appear via video.
Tarrant has reportedly been transferred to New Zealand’s only maximum-security facility at the recently upgraded Auckland Prison at Paremoremo.
The Corrections Department refused to confirm Tarrant’s location but did provide some details about the conditions he faces.
“The individual is segregated from other prisoners and able to be observed 24 hours a day, either directly by staff and/or via CCTV camera,” it said in a statement.
“He is being managed in accordance with the provisions set out in the Corrections Act 2004 and our international obligations for the treatment of prisoners. At this time he has no access to television, radio or newspapers and no approved visitors.”
New Zealand media have reported that if convicted, the accused will likely be isolated to prevent him being targeted by the largely Polynesian prison population over his white supremacist views.