Arab News clinches prestigious WAN-IFRA design award in Berlin 

Manfred Werfel, deputy chief executive of WAN-IFRA, noted Arab News’s “innovative” redesign. (WAN-IFRA)
Updated 10 October 2018

Arab News clinches prestigious WAN-IFRA design award in Berlin 

  • Newspaper picks up silver prize at WAN-IFRA Print Innovation Awards
  • Honoured for ‘innovative’ redesign unveiled in April 2018

BERLIN: Arab News, the Middle East’s leading English-language daily, has been honoured with a prestigious design award following the newspaper’s revamp unveiled in April.

The newspaper picked up a silver award in the “redesigned product category” at the WAN-IFRA Print Innovation Awards, held in Berlin on Oct. 9.

The award clinched by Arab News follows its revamp in April 2018, which saw a bold, modern new design across the printed newspaper and website, under the tagline “The Voice of a Changing Region.”

The redesign — part of the newspaper’s “more digital, more global” strategy — reflected a new approach to stories that is better suited to the Internet age. Articles are now supplemented with contextual analysis and elegant graphics and background facts giving richness to the newspaper’s output.

“As part of our strategy to make Arab News a globally recognized brand, we made sure our recent relaunch adheres to the highest industry standards in design. As such, we opted to enter this prestigious WAN-IFRA  international competition as opposed to a regional one; and so, to come out with the silver award is something we are very proud of,” said Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News. 

“This recognition is dedicated to the Arab News team who has worked extremely hard to guarantee a smooth relaunch, while at the same time ensuring our daily operations didn’t get affected. I’d also like to thank our SRMG board of directors and our relaunch partners Innovation. However, the biggest thanks goes to our readers for their continued vote of confidence and the increase in readership we have witnessed since the redesign,” Abbas added. 

Manfred Werfel, deputy chief executive of WAN-IFRA, noted the newspaper’s “innovative” redesign. 

“In April 2018 Arab News underwent an extensive and ambitious redesign using innovative elements. As ‘The Voice of a Changing Region,’ Arab News developed a new identity and now offers a modern, stylish design,” he said. 

Arab News's Global Creative Director, Simon Khalil said: "To be recognised on a global level with this award is a great honour. There were over 150 entries in the redesign category from all over the world so for Arab News to win silver is a brilliant achievement. We are the voice of a changing region and our design changed, and evolved, to mirror the changes in the Kingdom. This award will inspire the whole team to produce even better design and content for our readers and we are very pleased the industry has recognised our efforts with this prestigious award."

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, or WAN-IFRA, is the global organization of the world’s press, and was founded in 1948. 

It organizes several award events, including the World Digital Media Awards and the inaugural Print Innovation Awards held today. The latter event — which attracted 54 registrations from 19 countries — was judged by members of the World Printers Forum Board members.

The other contenders in the “redesigned product category” were the Columbian titles Rediseño de el Tiempo and Rediseño Portafolio.

Google says misinformation campaign used YouTube to target Hong Kong protests

Updated 23 August 2019

Google says misinformation campaign used YouTube to target Hong Kong protests

SAN FRANCISCO, US: Google on Thursday said it disabled a series of YouTube channels that appeared to be part of a coordinated influence campaign against pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
The announcement by YouTube’s parent company came after Twitter and Facebook accused the Chinese government of backing a social media campaign to discredit Hong Kong’s protest movement and sow political discord in the city.
Google disabled 210 YouTube channels that it found behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the Hong Kong protests, according to Shane Huntley of the company’s security threat analysis group.
“This discovery was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter,” Huntley said in an online post.
Twitter and Facebook announced this week that they suspended nearly 1,000 active accounts linked to a coordinated influence campaign. Twitter said it had shut down about 200,000 more before they could inflict any damage.
“These accounts were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground,” Twitter said, referring to the active accounts it shut down.
Facebook said some of the posts from accounts it banned compared the protesters in Hong Kong with Daesh group militants, branded them “cockroaches” and alleged they planned to kill people using slingshots.
China has “taken a page from Russia’s playbook” as it uses social media platforms outside the country to wage a disinformation campaign against the protests, according to the non-profit Soufan Center for research, analysis, and strategic dialogue related to global security issues.
“Beijing has deployed a relentless disinformation campaign on Twitter and Facebook powered by unknown numbers of bots, trolls, and so-called ‘sock puppets,’” the center said on its website, referring to fake online identities created for deception.
“China’s behavior will likely grow more aggressive in both the physical and virtual realms, using on-the-ground actions to complement an intensifying cyber campaign characterized by disinformation, deflection, and obfuscation.”

Misused by autocratic regimes
While social media platforms have been tools for people to advocate for rights, justice or freedom in their countries, the services are being turned on them by oppressive governments, according to the Soufan Center.
“Autocratic governments are now using these same platforms to disparage demonstrators, divide protest movements, and confuse sympathetic onlookers,” the center said.
Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous southern Chinese city and one of the world’s most important financial hubs, is in the grip of an unprecedented political crisis that has seen millions of people take to the streets demanding greater freedoms.
China’s government has publicly largely left the city’s leaders and police force to try and resolve the crisis, but behind the scenes online, Beijing is seeking to sway public opinion about Hong Kong, according to Twitter and Facebook.
“We are disclosing a significant state-backed information operation focused on the situation in Hong Kong, specifically the protest movement and their calls for political change,” Twitter said.
It said it had pulled 936 accounts originating in China that were spreading disinformation.
Twitter and Facebook are banned in China, part of the government’s so-called “Great Firewall” of censorship.
Because of the bans, many of the fake accounts were accessed using “virtual private networks” that give a deceptive picture of the user’s location, Twitter said.
Facebook said it had acted on a tip from Twitter, removing seven pages, three groups and five Facebook accounts that had about 15,500 followers.
“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the Chinese government,” Facebook said.