Radio has its history and legacy in the Kingdom

Updated 14 February 2013
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Radio has its history and legacy in the Kingdom

As the World Radio Day was celebrated yesterday across the world, radio continues to evolve in the digital age and remains the medium that reaches the widest audience worldwide.
In the Kingdom, it is quite popular. The arrival of online radio stations has boosted its popularity even further. The history of radio in Saudi Arabia goes back to 1949 when airwaves were filled with the recitation of Holy Qur’an that won the heart of millions across the Kingdom. In earlier decades, large wooden box radios were confined to the elite. Later, transistor radios reached masses. Now, radio in Saudi Arabia has been completely reshaped by the various private players that entered the sector after the government opened up licenses to them.
In the new digital era, TV, cellular technology and social media dominate the field of information and entertainment. Yet radio stations in Saudi Arabia have persevered. Many broadcasters thought that the time for radio is over with the introduction of social media. However, the reality is quite different. Many listeners tune in to online radio stations nowadays. A large number of radio listeners tune in while driving. Broadcast experts say that radio listenership consists of more than 60 percent in vehicles. Over 70 percent of the listeners are men. The lions’ share of listeners is young.
Saudi Radio has a prominent role in the Kingdom. The station traditionally broadcasts Qur’an reading, Islamic lectures, news and entertainment. In 1994, MBC FM has made significant inroad into Saudi listeners.
In 2011 five new FM stations were allowed to operate that expect to have an audience of 25 million. All FM stations are targeting youth and offer a variety of info and entertainment programs.
As the number of stations grows and the competition stiffens, the content of a broadcast has become questionable with some broadcasters. The competition leads to attempts to monopolize music and barring others from broadcasting it. Saudi-based radio programs have received a wide acceptance, not only at home but also across the Arab world.
Though there is a wide range of choice available to Arabic listeners, English listeners have little choice in the Kingdom. Only a few stations offer broadcast services in English.
Radio Riyadh FM is popular with English listeners. Football-loving English speakers turn to the English service of Jeddah Radio. US Armed Forces Network is available on different frequencies and is largely appreciated for their Western music. Aramco’s FM also has a sizeable audience.
Many Asian expatriates living in central and eastern region also listen to the broadcast services of their choice from various stations in neighboring GCC countries.
Jeddah Radio’s Urdu service broadcasts in the afternoon and has a large following. The programs of Jeddah Radio are quite popular during Haj season, as the programs contain a variety of topics supported by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. Saudi Radio broadcasts programs during Haj season in English, French, Urdu, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Swahili, and Turkish. Programs in Urdu and Bahasa Indonesia remain the most popular due to the high influx of pilgrims from the subcontinent and Indonesia.
Apart from drivers, a vast majority of people who work in remote areas cannot access satellite television while at the job. They are also unable to read newspapers, so they depend on radio service. Print media reach an educated audience in an office environment. Radio reaches across deserts in all parts of Kingdom.


Makkah Route: Health services presented to Hajjis in their home countries

Updated 21 July 2019
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Makkah Route: Health services presented to Hajjis in their home countries

  • 257,981 pilgrims benefited from the "preventive services" since the new initiative’s launch

RIYADH: One of the services provided by the Makkah Route initiative, which aims to smooth the Hajj journey of pilgrims and provide top-quality service, is to ensure that all health requirements are met.

The Communication, Relations and Health Awareness General Department of the Ministry of Health is implementing the initiative in two ways. 

The first is to ensure that the proper application of the health requirements for Hajj and Umrah is followed in targeted countries before issuing the Kingdom’s entry visa (Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Tunisia). 

The second is to check that preventive measures are taken according to the world’s epidemiological situation, for instance in Pakistan.

“Preventive measures” mean, for example, providing polio vaccines for pilgrims. The vaccine, approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), is provided through the Pakistani health authorities at the departure area of the airport.

“The ministry is also deploying a team of five people qualified to supervise the application of health requirements and assess the vaccination procedure and the application of preventive measures,” the department added.   


HIGHLIGHTS

The Makkah Route initiative aims to ensure that the proper application of the health requirements for Hajj and Umrah is followed in targeted countries before issuing the Kingdom’s entry visa.

The initiative also ensures that preventive measures are taken according to the world’s epidemiological situation, for instance in Pakistan.

The workforce at the different land, air, and sea entry/exit points during this year’s Hajj season numbers more than 1,700 individuals.

The teams include 131 experienced doctors, general health specialists, epidemiological monitors, and other staff to provide the necessary treatment and preventive services to pilgrims.


The ministry’s procedures in the departure hall include prepping emergency clinics at the points where Makkah Route pilgrims are received. 

These clinics deal with urgent cases, prepare awareness information for pilgrims and coordinate with the General Authority of Civil Aviation regarding their distribution on the targeted airlines.

The workforce at the different land, air, and sea entry/exit points during this year’s Hajj season numbers more than 1,700 individuals, including 131 experienced doctors, general health specialists, epidemiological monitors, and other staff to provide the necessary treatment and preventive services to pilgrims.

The ministry stated that the number of health practitioners assigned to the service of pilgrims during Hajj “is more than 30,000.”

The ministry encourages volunteering during the Hajj season; it believes that it is a very important and noble service toward fellow citizens, nations and the religion, where Islam highly encourages volunteering and serving others.

The ministry is coordinating the major institutions and commissions via its Hajj volunteering link to register volunteers so that they can participate through the societal partnership program.

The missions affiliated with the pilgrim’s affairs offices provide basic treatment services and refer patients to the ministry’s health facilities, keeping an eye on the overall health situation and reporting any suspicious infectious diseases. 

The ministry monitors all the health institutions and medical missions affiliated with the pilgrim’s affairs offices to make sure the health requirements are being properly applied, to ensure pilgrims’ safety and guarantee an environment free of infectious diseases.

The Health Ministry has confirmed that so far that there has been no incidence of any epidemic diseases or quarantine cases recorded among pilgrims, who arrived and the health situation is reassuring.

Since the first of Dul Qaada, the ministry has provided preventive services, via access points, to 257,981 pilgrims, with a total rate of commitment to vaccination reached  87.4 percent for meningitis, 67.3 percent for yellow fever and 95.3 percent for polio.