Al-Arabiya journalist Rima Maktabi honored by Lebanese American University

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Rima Maktabi. (AFP)
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Updated 17 May 2018
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Al-Arabiya journalist Rima Maktabi honored by Lebanese American University

  • On accepting her award the journalist said women in the industry face a tough journey
  • Maktabi described as a brave journalist both on the front line of wars and across the table from world leaders

LONDON: Rima Maktabi was awarded the inaugural 2018 Communication Arts Alumni Award last week by the Lebanese American University.
Maktabi, the UK bureau chief at Al-Arabiya News Channel, was chosen for the award in line with selection criteria that gave weight to innovation and women’s empowerment, according to Chairperson of the Communication Arts Department Jad Melki.
The award was presented at an event at Gulbenkian Theatre on Friday, at the conclusion of LAU’s Festival Next, a colorful week of workshops, performances, screenings, and competitions.
“I am proud to belong to this university and its student body,” said Maktabi, who shared valuable advice during her address to students, especially to aspiring female journalists.
“Do not be fooled by sparkling images of women on screen — women in journalism face a long, bumpy road,” she declared, pointing out that despite the massive spread of social media, the same journalistic guiding principles apply: “Accuracy, knowledge and truth are at the core, everything else is just an addition.”


Maktabi began her career as a game show host and weather presenter with Lebanon’s Future TV. She moved into news presenting in 2005 with Al-Arabiya, coming to international prominence in the following year when she covered the 2006 Lebanon war. She moved to CNN in 2010 to present the network’s “Inside the Middle East” program, returning to Al-Arabiya in 2012.
“Rima is a brave journalist — not just at the frontlines of the numerous wars she has reported on, but also across the table from the world leaders she has interviewed,” said Assistant Professor Claudia Kozman, who was also the MC at Friday’s event.
Abdallah Al-Khal, assistant vice president for alumni relations at LAU, joined Melki in presenting the award to Maktabi. After the presentation, the closing ceremony featured a spectacular performance by musical group Fere’et Aa Nota.


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 19 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.