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

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.

Ukrainian pianist hits the high notes for Taif visitors

Updated 52 min 58 sec ago

Ukrainian pianist hits the high notes for Taif visitors

TAIF: It is not unusual for musicians to aim for the stars, but organizers of the Crown Prince Camel Festival in Taif gave the Ukrainian concert pianist Olina Lukashu a head start.

Visitors to the opening entertainment events at King Faisal Garden were treated to the sight and sound of Lukashu performing 5 meters in the air, dressed in a long white gown that reached down to the ground.

“It was decided to put her at the entrance of the garden, all dressed in white to welcome the visitors,” festival spokesman Saleh Al-Anzi told Arab News.

“It is a new idea that was greatly enjoyed by visitors, who admired her rendition of various musical pieces.”

Among the 25 events taking place in conjunction with this year’s festival is a circus presented by five Latin American countries, Al-Anzi said. There is also a free childcare service, mobile food courts, international restaurants and a live broadcasting studio.  “Visitors will be able to ride camels inside the park, and enjoy the handicrafts on display by various artisans,” he said.

Dr. Sami bin Abdullah Al-Obaidi, chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, told Arab News the Taif Season was important in terms of generating employment opportunities for young Saudis, and creating tourist projects. “All the events are full of visitors,” he said.

He said 2,000 jobs were provided during the Taif Season, and those who took up the opportunities gained skills and knowledge about the requirements of an audience.

“Saudi culture has changed, and Saudis have become more aware of global challenges and requirements, and the expectations of tourists and other consumers,” he said. “Taif Season has set a high standard.”