News agencies embrace information technology

Updated 23 November 2013

News agencies embrace information technology

Abdul Aziz Khoja, minister of culture and information, launched the fourth News Agencies World Congress (NAWC) in Riyadh on Monday. Khojah is also the chairman of the board of directors of the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA), which is hosting the congress. He called upon the media fraternity at the largest gathering of international media to brace themselves for the challenges faced by the information technology sector in the 21st century.
“Today, the world is full of changes and contradictions,” he said. “Media play an important role as a communicator around the world. The main goal of this media conference is to get a better understanding of new developments and the future role of media around the world. We aim to share experiences and expertise.” The minister hoped the conference would lay foundations for positive cooperation among news agencies in the world during the three-day brainstorming session.
“The Kingdom always supports humanitarian work and we see the role of the media as an enforcer of humanitarian aspects,” he maintained. “Saudi Arabia is setting up dialogues and reaching out to all cultures.” International communication is an excellent opportunity for sound dialogue, he said.
He said, “We have made ample progress in media objectivity in the Kingdom.”
The Kingdom’s private and public media outlets are very keen to adopt the latest developments taking place at a local, regional and international level, the minister stated.
Abdullah bin Fahad Al-Hussein, SPA president, stressed the importance of technological development for the growth of the media industry.
Al-Hussein, who is also NAWC chairman, called on the media to improve skills among personnel and to stick to the ethics of the profession.
He said that the SPA is hosting this international conference for the first time in the Middle East region, the fourth in a series of conferences.

In 2004, Russia hosted the first NAWC at an invitation from the Russian agency Itar-Tass. The second congress was held in Spain in 2007 at an invitation from the Spanish news agency Efe and the third congress was hosted by Argentine in 2010 at an invitation from the Argentine national news agency Telam.
“We are hoping that the Riyadh congress contributes to strengthening cooperation between news agencies around the world to serve the interest of future programs and plans leading to the enhancement of professionalism in news agencies,” the NAWC chairman asserted.
He hoped that the discourse at this convention would enrich the work of the congress and reach positive outcomes for the media.
Clive Marshall, executive director of the British Press Association Agency, emphasized the importance of the fourth news agencies congress in the wake of ongoing development and the impact of Internet technologies on the media in the world contributing to the rapid spread of information.
He urged media personalities to take advantage of Internet technologies and social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.


‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

Footballing great Thierry Henry thrills fans as he signs 10 footballs on stage and tosses them to the audience. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 21 October 2019

‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

  • Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds

DHAHRAN: Stepping onto the Tanween stage in front of a sold-out venue full of cheering fans, footballing great Thierry Henry was quick to say how “hyped” he was to meet his Saudi supporters.
As a guest and speaker at Tanween Season, the former Arsenal striker and French international faced a busy schedule on Saturday after arriving at King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran.
First, he had a “meet and greet” with fans, many wearing Arsenal shirts, which was quickly followed by a discussion of the theme for this year’s event, “Play.”
After two young footballers from Riyadh performed a series of tricks that included balancing a football on one leg, then kicking it in the air to land on their backs, Henry said: “I would have broken my back trying to do that. It’s not easy.”
On his second visit to Saudi Arabia — the first was to Riyadh last year — Henry said that he was impressed by this year’s Tanween theme since he had seen firsthand the results of a children’s quality-of-life program at Tanween.
“What I liked most was to see the smiles on the faces of those children when I was walking around the impressive building. Being able to dream is key for me, but seeing how the youngsters were interacting, and how happy they were with their families walking around, was just priceless,” he said.
Growing up, Henry’s father played an important role in his development. The footballer did not miss a beat when answering that his father was his idol. “My dad was the hardest man to please; to put a smile on his face was the hardest thing to do,” he said.
Although the footballer grew up in a “not so great” Paris neighborhood, he considered it an enriching cultural experience. “It was great for me at the time because it allowed me to travel, although I wasn’t really traveling,” he said.
France’s colonial history meant he was exposed to different cultures early in his life.
“If I going upstairs to have couscous, to the second floor to have Senegalese food, or to eat with the Portuguese downstairs, it allowed me to travel, staying where I was,” he explained.
During his talk Henry showed that his Arabic extends to common niceties such as “shukran,” “afwan” and “alsalamau alaikum.”
Having an impact on the English Premier League and his role in Arsenal’s record-breaking era almost two decades ago are more important to him that being considered the world’s best striker, he said. As for his favorite stadium, Henry was quick to choose Highbury.
Offering advice to younger Saudis in the audience, Henry urged them to face their problems calmly and cleverly.
“Don’t run away. Face it and don’t be scared to fail. Come back again, but smarter,” he said.
Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds. That revealed that he has always admired Muhammad Ali as the greatest, Messi is his current favorite football player and winning the World Cup was the most memorable moment in his career.
After the talk, Henry thrilled the crowd — a reminder of his playing days — by tossing 10 footballs to lucky fans who cheered as he left the stage.