Telecom firms unmoved by boycott campaign

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People's anger can be gauged by their Tweets.
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Most customers think telecom firms are unmoved by the campaign. (SPA)
Updated 04 October 2016
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Telecom firms unmoved by boycott campaign

JEDDAH: Saudi telecommunication firms face a social boycott launched by clients protesting high prices and "bad services" provided by these companies.
The boycott will cause losses that could reach up to SR50 million if the campaign continues for more than a month, according to an economist.
The boycott started at 6 p.m. Sunday and it will continue for three hours every day. All SIM card users have been requested by campaigners to switch off their phones for three hours every day.
The boycott has been seen as the first of its kind in the Kingdom. Many users of SIM cards complained of an ongoing blocking of free-call applications for smart phones and stopping provision of unlimited Internet packages.
The boycott of telecommunication services has also taken others forms. Thousands of users have unfollowed Twitter accounts of telecommunication companies to create pressure on them to reduce prices and improve services.
One of the Saudi telecommunication companies had announced that it would stop offering unlimited Internet packages, while other firms had said the service and packages would resume. The Communications and Information Technology Commission has remained silent about the decision, sparking intense debates and discussions on social media.
Telecommunication firms have maintained silence too in the face of the boycott. This has encouraged many customers to join the campaign. Most customers think telecom firms are unmoved by the campaign.
Economist Fadal Bou Al-Ainain said telecom firms would lose more than SR50 million if the boycott were to continue for more than one month. The firms review their sales reports every month to check their performance in the Saudi market.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Ainain said this kind of boycott is happening for the first time in the Kingdom. This boycott has been organized very well and it will give highly positive results. The results would impact on the reputation of the firms.
Several sales branches of telecom firms in Riyadh witnessed a low number of visitors and clients, according to a local report. To make matters worse, the boycott comes at a time when the Saudi market is witnessing a recession.
“The boycott campaign will force Saudi telecommunication firms to review their prices and quality of services. There are no other options to avoid huge losses. Organizers of the boycott campaign succeeded in using the social networking websites to encourage users to join the campaign,” Al-Ainain added.


Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

Updated 26 June 2019
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Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

  • 40 works by Edvard Munch go on display for first time in Middle East

DHAHRAN: A dynamic Saudi cultural center is to showcase the works of one of the world’s most famous painters in an exhibition-first for the Middle East.

Forty pieces by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, best known for his iconic “The Scream” painting, will go on public display at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

The special exhibition, titled “Landscapes of the Soul,” is the latest in a series of high-profile cultural events to be staged at the showpiece Dhahran museum.

Developed by Saudi Aramco with the aim of stimulating knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement, Ithra’s theater, museum, exhibition hall and art gallery complex forms a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan to promote culture and entertainment.

The Munch exhibition, which runs until Sept. 3, portrays the artist’s personal life experiences of misery, love, despair, loneliness and reflections of the soul, through his distinctive works.

“It is such an honor to host and introduce to Saudi Arabia, and indeed, the Middle East, the work of the world-renowned artist Edvard Munch,” Rania Biltagi, Ithra’s head of communications and partnership, told Arab News.

Munch’s (1863-1944) original exhibition has been located in Oslo, Norway since 1963, and the Saudi display is being staged in Ithra’s Great Hall in partnership with the Munch Museum in Norway.

As well as a lithograph version of his most famous painting “The Scream,” other works on show will include “Summer Night. The Voice,” 1894, “Self-Portrait,” 1895, and “The Sick Child,” 1896.

“A moment that stood out from the opening was when speaking to a couple visiting the exhibit, they mentioned that they were Norwegian and working in Saudi,” Biltagi said. “They explained that they had never had the chance to visit the Munch Museum in their homeland and what an unexpected pleasure it was to be able to see Munch’s work in Saudi.”

Biltagi added that the event epitomized the aim of Ithra in providing a platform to bring together cultures as well as people.

The center, featured in Time magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 places to visit, is a pioneer on the Kingdom’s culture and arts scene, organizing a variety of events, performances, programs and experiences to suit all ages and backgrounds. Previous exhibitions have included a focus on Saudi contemporary art, Leonardo da Vinci, and installations symbolizing creativity and innovation.