Journalists covering key Summit praise ‘exceptional’ facilities in Dhahran

Arab leaders meet in Dhahran on Sunday to unify ranks with an eye on Iran and Jerusalem. Reuters
Updated 16 April 2018

Journalists covering key Summit praise ‘exceptional’ facilities in Dhahran

DHAHRAN: The media center at the Mercure Hotel in Alkhobar is hosting the 29th Arab Summit and witnessing important media coverage where read, visual and audio media are competing to cover the Dhahran Summit.
The summit aims to promote joint Arab consensus toward the region’s affairs and challenges.
A number of reporters covering the summit commended the Kingdom’s facilities to cover the event.
They described it as “exceptional” given the circumstances the area is facing in terms of drastic transformations in politics, economy and national security and its effects on the whole world.
In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the reporter on Middle East affairs for the Japanese newspaper Nikkei Saber Rabiah acknowledged the efforts of Saudi Arabia which harnessed all its media and logistic information for the success of this event, and praised the Ministry and Culture and Information for providing the media center with equipment that facilitates the work of reportersvia their different media networks.
Rabiah indicated that the world is closely watching the outcome of this summit, and looking forward to making decisions that promote joint Arab consensus about the different causes in the region, and taking a clear stance toward Iran’s intervention in Arab countries’ internal affairs.
In a similar statement, a senior Egyptian journalist said the government of Saudi Arabia has achieved great success in hosting the summit while the Arab world witnesses a difficult situation.
He also thanked the Saudi authorities for the facilities it has presented for reporters covering this event, and stressed that this is a success to all Arabs, not only Saudi Arabia.
MENA Board Chairman and Chief Editor Ali Hassan said the whole world was looking forward to the summit’s outcome which will express Arabic public opinion in general, and that will be followed up internationally for the unified Arab vision regarding several issues, including the threats to the Arab national security and the dangers of terrorism.
Hassan said the Ministry of Culture and Information continues to provide big logistical support to different Arab and international newspapers and media reporting on the summit.


Technical glitches on Absher prevent exempt Saudis from traveling abroad

Updated 27 September 2020

Technical glitches on Absher prevent exempt Saudis from traveling abroad

  • On Sept. 13, the Saudi government issued a list of categories of people permitted to travel outside of the Kingdom
  • However, only a few days after the announcement, many students, patients and other exempted residents were unable to apply due to a technical fault on Absher

JEDDAH: Absher, the “one-stop shop” web-portal for Saudi government services, has been experiencing technical glitches that have left many citizens and expats unable to travel, despite them meeting the “exceptional case” categories outlined by the Interior Ministry more than two weeks ago.
Earlier this year and as part of its response to COVID-19, the Saudi government suspended all international flights to and from the Kingdom in a move that has successfully reduced infections across the country.
On Sept. 13, the Saudi government issued a list of categories of people permitted to travel outside of the Kingdom. These include diplomats, humanitarian cases, Saudis who live outside the Kingdom for work or study, among others. To be able to leave the country an eligible individual must apply — with supporting documents — for a permit to the passport authority.
However, only a few days after the announcement, many students, patients and other exempted residents were unable to apply due to a technical fault on Absher.
“The option to request the permit suddenly vanished from the relevant page, so while you could access Absher you just couldn’t submit your request. I tried every day for nearly two weeks,” said a Saudi woman who holds residency in a neighboring country. She added that while there was no announcement, the only information that she read in the local press was that the service was facing technical glitches.
“Yesterday, they announced that Absher was back but said that new requirements were set,” she said. “These include providing a copy of the residency card abroad and proof that an applicant has lived out of the Kingdom for six months every year for the past three years. In addition they requested a copy of my tenancy contract.”
“I spent all day collecting the documents. When I tried to upload the PDF the first time it told me that the file was too big, so I went to find software to reduce the size and when I finally managed to do so, I couldn’t log in as the whole website was down with a message saying that it was either temporarily unavailable or that they were serving someone else,” she said.
Other people, including one Saudi cancer patient who is due to return for treatment in Germany, spoke of the same technical glitches. When Arab News tried to log on to verify earlier today, it was unable to with an automated message that said “currently we are serving others, please try again later.”  The problem seems to have been resolved for some users by 10 pm.