Arab media must avoid fake news and stick to objectivity, says minister

The Arab ministers discussed a number of initiatives and ideas to revitalize the media industry, also agreeing to abide by a code of conduct and ethics. (SPA)
Updated 10 January 2019
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Arab media must avoid fake news and stick to objectivity, says minister

  • Concerted efforts urged to fight extremism and terrorism
  • Al-Shabanah stressed the role of Arab media in combating terrorism through educational programs that raised awareness about this phenomenon

JEDDAH: The Kingdom’s media minister met with information ministers from the Arab League on Wednesday, with fake news and Palestine among the issues discussed.
Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah welcomed the audience to Riyadh and greeted them on behalf of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who wished them success in strengthening media efforts within the Arab League framework.
The session was organized in partnership with the Saudi Media Ministry as part of celebrating Riyadh being named the Arab Media Capital for 2018-2019.
Al-Shabanah kick-started the meeting by saying it was important to emphasize the Palestinian cause and the coordinated Arab media efforts needed to promote it.
Another topic was an amendment to the code of conduct for Arab media, including the avoidance of spreading rumors and fake news, committing to objectivity and professionalism and avoiding hate speech.
Al-Shabanah stressed the role of Arab media in combating terrorism through educational programs that raised awareness about this phenomenon.
The success of Arab efforts in tackling terrorism required constant coordination and a united front, aimed at fighting radical and misguided ideas, he said.
Secretary-General of the Arab League’s Social Affairs Sector Badr Al-Din Alali thanked the Kingdom for its hospitality and congratulated Al-Shabanah on his recent appointment as media minister.
Alali spoke about the last decade, which had witnessed tremendous regional and global changes that demanded a better performance and capacity from Arab media so that it could compete on the international stage.
He said the secretariat-general of the Arab League and Council of Arab Media Ministers were keen to develop and strengthen the work of the media.
This enthusiasm and support was reflected by the council’s decisions and discussions from recent years, such as its role in combating terrorism and achieving sustainable development goals, he said.
Last month the Kingdom’s then-Media Minister Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad and his Arab counterparts pledged to devise a joint Arab strategy to overcome the challenges facing the region.
They discussed a number of initiatives and ideas to revitalize the media industry, also agreeing to abide by a code of conduct and ethics.
The Council of Arab Media Ministers’ Executive Office includes the following members: Jordan, the UAE, Tunisia, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq and Egypt.


Investigation into alleged mistakes in Yemen find coalition forces acted properly

Updated 17 January 2019
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Investigation into alleged mistakes in Yemen find coalition forces acted properly

JEDDAH: The Joint Incident Assessment Team in Yemen (JIAT) has investigated four allegations made by international governmental and non-governmental organizations and media about mistakes made by coalition forces while carrying out military operations inside Yemen.
JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour said that the team concluded that the procedures followed by the coalition forces were proper and safe, taking into consideration the rules of engagement, international humanitarian law and the coalition’s own rules.
Team members visited a number of cities in Yemen, including Aden, Lahj and Khor Maksar, during the investigation and spoke to witnesses, victims and their families to gather evidence and establish the facts.
In one of the incidents that was investigated, coalition warship fired on and destroyed a craft in the waters off the Yemeni port of Al-Khokha in September. Al-Mansour said that after examining documents and evidence JIAT had concluded that an alliance ship was escorting and protecting a flotilla of three Saudi merchant ships when, in an area off the port of Al-Khokha, a boat was spotted approaching the convoy at a high speed from the direction of the Yemeni coast.
The escort ship followed the accepted rules of engagement by repeatedly warning the unidentified vessel, using loudspeakers, not to come any closer. When these went unheeded, warning shots were fired but the boat continued to approach.
“On reaching an area that represented a threat to the convoy, the protection ship tackled the boat according to the rules of engagement and targeted it, resulting in an explosion on the boat,” said Al-Mansour. “The protection ship continued escorting the convoy. After the escort task was completed, the protection ship returned to the site of the targeted boat to carry out a search-and-rescue operation for the crew of the target boat but no one was found.”