New media center to assess quality of reports and effect on KSA

Saudi Arabia issues a royal decree to establish a new center for media and communication studies. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 07 December 2018
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New media center to assess quality of reports and effect on KSA

  • The royal decree states that the center will have an independent annual budget approved by the king, and a board of directors of no fewer than five members

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has decided to establish a new independent organization to address the quality of media reports affecting the image of the Kingdom.
A royal decree was issued on Nov. 24 to create a new center for media and communication studies.
The purpose of the center is to effectively gauge local and international opinion and conduct studies to measure and analyze global and regional events and their overall impact.
Its role, as stated by the decree, is to collect and analyze media information, studies and research relating to local, regional and international political, economic and social issues and events. It will study the effects of these issues, positive or negative, on the image of Saudi Arabia and suggest ways to respond.
The center will also conduct surveys to gauge public opinion on local and international events, and will communicate to media organizations information about the country to promote a national sense of belonging and unity. It also aims to learn from domestic and foreign experts in the fields it covers, and will prepare and develop programs and create channels of communication with local and international media outlets to assess local and international opinion.
It will additionally work with research centers and consulting firms, build databases, organize workshops and conferences in cooperation with universities and other specialist bodies, and create training programs.
The royal decree states that the center will have an independent annual budget approved by the king, and a board of directors of no fewer than five members. It will be directly related to the Royal Court organizationally, but remain financially and administratively independent.

A welcome decision
Intellectuals and media figures in Saudi Arabia welcomed the royal decree.
During a discussion on the “Isbou’ Fi Sa’ah” program on the Saudi TV channel Rotana Khalijiyah, the panelists emphasized the need to develop Saudi media institutions to properly represent the Kingdom as a country and a society.
Mohammad Al-Osaimi, a Saudi journalist and writer, said that the Saudi media, at all levels, lacks a clear vision and operation strategy. He also said by that by narrowly targeting a local audience it does not properly address people outside the Kingdom, and so should also focus more on the international audience.
“One of the most important conditions to influence regional and international public opinion is to open up to the international community,” he said.
Al-Osaimi highlighted the need to ease the entry into the Kingdom of the international media and its work, adding: “Our media insist on a too-perfect image; there’s no perfect state in the world, that’s normal.”
Dr. Majed Al-Turki, the director of the Center of Information and Arabian-Russian Studies, said that the establishment of the media center shows that Saudi Arabia’s decision-makers are increasingly aware the importance to the state of carrying out such research, but suggested that its performance should be monitored by an independent institution to ensure it fulfills its role.


Makkah all set for its first flower festival

Sea of flowers at Muzdalifah district in Makkah. (AN Photo by Abdulmohsen Doman)
Updated 11 min 50 sec ago
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Makkah all set for its first flower festival

  • A symposium on environmental planning, and the design of green spaces such as parks, gardens and squares will also be held
  • The flower festival continues until March 23

MAKKAH: A carpet of flowers featuring 1 million blooms will be one of the main attractions as Makkah hosts its first flower festival.

The event, which begins on Tuesday at Muzdalifah, has been organized by the city’s municipality in cooperation with the Arab Urban Development Institute and King Saud University. It will be officially opened by Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal.

Raed Samarqandi, the director of the municipality’s department of media and publications, said that the festival is unique and has serious objectives.

“It aims to improve the environment, fight pollution and show an image that suits the value of the city and its holy sites,” he explained. “The festival will coincide with the 20th symposium on afforestation, titled “Suitable afforestation for the environmental conditions of Makkah — the central region and holy sites,” on March 19 and 20.

The symposium will feature representatives of governmental sectors and scientific bodies and include discussion of papers addressing many the issues in the city, such as the state of afforestation in Makkah, the latest techniques in environmental planning, and the design of green spaces such as parks, gardens and squares.

Makkah Mayor Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Quwaihes has invited speakers from the private sector, universities, research centers, and agricultural and afforestation companies to contribute and help raise awareness of these local issues.

The flower festival continues until March 23.