Likes’ are no substitute for action, Jordan’s queen tells online influencers

Queen Rania argued social media should be harnessed as a tool to remove barriers between people, rather than create more divisions in society. (AFP)
Updated 11 December 2018

Likes’ are no substitute for action, Jordan’s queen tells online influencers

  • Speaking at the third Arab Social Media Influencers Summit in Dubai, Queen Rania said people should use their online platforms to generate positive change
  • Winners recognized at the event included Queen Rania, who was named personality of the year for using social media to support humanitarian causes

LONDON: Jordan’s Queen Rania has urged social media influencers to use their online presence to pursue the truth and promote humanitarian causes.
Speaking at the third Arab Social Media Influencers Summit in Dubai on Monday, she said people should use their online platforms to generate positive change.
The summit brought together 70 speakers from 25 countries to discuss the power of social media.
“(In our virtual world) the truth is losing ground to emotional rhetoric and sensational rumors. So do we blame these technologies and exonerate ourselves?
“We owe it to the truth to seek it out and distribute it. It might not be the most appealing or fascinating, but not all that glitters is gold. Let us aim to give truth the final word,” she said in her keynote speech in the presence of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.
Queen Rania argued social media should be harnessed as a tool to remove barriers between people, rather than create more divisions in society.
“I come to you … the influencers … the people whose voices are heard, to urge you to use your time to break barriers and open communication channels … to rally support for those who need it most to champion the truth and communicate through values,” she said.
Queen Rania warned influencers that collecting “likes” or “shares” of a post alone was “no substitute for action.”
Speaking at the summit’s award ceremony, Sheikh Mohammed urged young people to use social media to benefit their communities.
“The success of nations is built on optimism, hope and a positive vision for the future backed by planning and hard work. You have a responsibility toward your communities.
“We rely on you to be a role model for the community and to promote tolerance and openness in today’s fast-paced age,” he said.
Winners recognized at the event included Queen Rania, who was named personality of the year for using social media to support humanitarian causes. Algerian Foreign Affairs Minister Abdelkader Messahel was named political personality of the year for using social media in three different languages while conducting public diplomacy.
Saudi Arabia’s Princess Reema, vice president for development and planning at the General Sports Authority, won the sports category award for her efforts in promoting sports via social media.
Saudi media personality Abdulrahman Al-Rashid was the winner in the media category for being one of the most active social media influencers in the media world.
The financial news portal Argaam won in the business category section.
Argaam’s CEO Islam Zween told Arab News: “It is our honor to be rewarded today as social media influencer in economy. We are really pleased to have such recognition after more than 10 years of day-to-day engagements with our readers and subscribers.”


Lebanese news agency boycotts politicians’ press conferences, including Hezbollah’s Nasrallah

Updated 07 August 2020

Lebanese news agency boycotts politicians’ press conferences, including Hezbollah’s Nasrallah

  • The Lebanese news agency LBCI has said it will no longer provide coverage of any politician’s press conference, including Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah
  • “Let your accomplishments speak for you and don’t distract people with storytelling,” an LBCI presenter said

LONDON: The Lebanese news agency LBCI has said it will no longer provide coverage of any politician’s press conference, including Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, following Tuesday’s massive explosions.

“The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International decided that what comes after Aug. 4 is not like what came before,” a presenter announced on live television on Friday.

“Because after the earthquake is not the same as before, because your (Lebanese government) neglect and failure is one of the main reasons for what we have come to ... because after Aug. 4, we need actions and not words, achievements and not speeches.

“Let your accomplishments speak for you and don’t distract people with storytelling,” she said.

“Finally, we tell people: While you are waiting for the speeches of your leaders, there are mothers who are waiting for the return of their children from the rubble — the priority is for them, not for you.”

Many Lebanese welcomed LBCI’s announcement, with several taking to social media to praise the move — especially given that Nasrallah spoke at a press conference at 5:30 p.m. local time, his first address since the blasts.

“Not only Nasrallah, but all speeches, by all parties. They are nothing more than propaganda. They own their own propaganda bullhorns, so let them use those to address their sheep, rather than block the airwaves for the rest of us,” Raghda Azad, a policy adviser, told Arab News.

“Not that LBC is a model or anything, but all television outlets should stop unquestioning and uncritical reports of so-called leaders,” she added.

However, some doubt the move will not be followed by other stations.

“I think it would be great if they all do. But I think because many people care what he says, stations feel like they should oblige,” Aya Chamseddine, a Beirut-based researcher, told Arab News.

“Generally, people tend to — even if they loathe him — root themselves in front of TVs to watch and listen. His speeches are theatrics above all,” she said. “His narrative will be predictable. He will say they know more than anyone what it means to lose people. He’ll be insulting.”

A Lebanese media expert, who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, disagrees with the move.

“CNN, even when it hates (US President) Trump, carries his speeches. Nasrallah is the biggest political player in the region; when he speaks people would want to listen because of his effect on politics and our daily lives,” he said.

“The issue is analyzing what he says later, and tearing it apart when it is false or stupid, like CNN does after every Trump speech or statement.”

The boycott comes three days after Beirut was rocked by two blasts when 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate confiscated six years ago and left in a port storage hangar exploded.

The massive explosions left at least 140 people dead, over 5,000 injured and more than 300,000 homeless. Many say that government corruption and negligence are behind the explosion.