Arab News KSA female staff ratio up to 32% in 2017

Saudi media personality Muna AbuSulayman, center, with Arab News staff, from left, Huda Bashatah, Deema Al-Khudair, Lulwa Shalhoub Ana and Aseel Bashraheel. (AN photo: Ghazi Mehdi)
Updated 20 April 2018
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Arab News KSA female staff ratio up to 32% in 2017

  • Arab News aims to become the first Saudi “gender-balanced” newspaper by 2020
  • The initiative known as “50:50 by 2020” will aim to cover all the newspaper’s bureaus and areas of operation

RIYADH: Arab News, the Saudi Arabia-based newspaper, boosted the ratio of female staff and contributors working in the Kingdom in 2017 to almost a third — compared to just 13 percent the previous year.

The results of Arab News’ “Gender equality meter” are published today as part of the newspaper’s stated aim to become the first Saudi “gender-balanced” newspaper by 2020.

In 2016, 87 percent of the newspaper’s staff and contributors in Saudi Arabia were men. Last year the number of women working for the paper within the Kingdom hit 32 percent.

The ratio of women working across the newspaper’s global editorial operations — including editorial staff in the Saudi, London and Dubai bureaus, regular Opinion writers, foreign correspondents and freelancers — stood at 31 percent in 2017. 

There is no global comparison for 2016 because the London and Dubai operations did not exist, and the Opinion section included much syndicated content. Overall comparative figures, and numbers for Arab News’ Southeast Asia bureau, will be published next year.

Arab News earlier this month outlined its aim to become the first newspaper in Saudi Arabia to have a gender-balanced newsroom — and it intends to achieve this goal in less than two years. The drive — referred to internally as the “50:50 by 2020” initiative — will aim to cover all the newspaper’s bureaus and areas of operation. It will involve active recruitment, training and career guidance which the paper will provide.


Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

A Google sign is seen during the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy) in Shanghai, China August 3, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

  • Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability
  • Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is not close to launching a search engine app in China, its chief executive said at a companywide meeting on Thursday, according to a transcript seen by Reuters, as employees of the Alphabet Inc. unit called for more transparency and oversight of the project.
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told staff that though development is in an early stage, providing more services in the world’s most populous country fits with Google’s global mission.
Hoping to gain approval from the Chinese government to provide a mobile search service, the company plans to block some websites and search terms, Reuters reported this month, citing unnamed sources.
Whether the company could or would launch search in China “is all very unclear,” Pichai said, according to the transcript. “The team has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now, and I think they are exploring many options.”
Disclosure of the secretive effort has disturbed some Google employees and human rights advocacy organizations. They are concerned that by agreeing to censorship demands, Google would validate China’s prohibitions on free expression and violate the “don’t be evil” clause in the company’s code of conduct.
Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability,” according to an internal petition seen by Reuters on Thursday.
After a separate petition this year, Google announced it would not renew a project to help the US military develop artificial intelligence technology for drones.
The China petition says employees are concerned the project, code named Dragonfly, “makes clear” that ethics principles Google issued during the drone debate “are not enough.”
“We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we’re building,” states the document seen by Reuters.
The New York Times first reported the petition on Thursday. Google declined to comment.
Company executives have not commented publicly on Dragonfly, and their remarks at the company-wide meeting marked their first about the project since details about it were leaked.
Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects that raise substantial ethical questions.
Pichai told employees: “We’ll definitely be transparent as we get closer to actually having a plan of record here” on Dragonfly, according to the transcript. He noted the company guards information on some projects where sharing too early can “cause issues.”
Three former employees involved with Google’s past efforts in China told Reuters current leadership may see offering limited search results in China as better than providing no information at all.
The same rationale led Google to enter China in 2006. It left in 2010 over an escalating dispute with regulators that was capped by what security researchers identified as state-sponsored cyberattacks against Google and other large US firms.
The former employees said they doubt the Chinese government will welcome back Google. A Chinese official, who declined to be named, told Reuters this month that it is “very unlikely” Dragonfly would be available this year.