RIYADH: A new media forum and awards ceremony is to be staged in Saudi Arabia as part of efforts to cement the Kingdom as the sector hub for the Arab world.
The Saudi Journalists Association (SJA) announced that the first Saudi Media Forum would be held at the end of November this year in Riyadh in conjunction with the inaugural Saudi Media Awards.
Under the title “Media Industry: Opportunities and Challenges,” the two-day conference will provide a platform for prominent Saudi, Arab and foreign media figures to discuss the latest developments and challenges facing the industry.
Chairman of the SJA, Khalid bin Hamed Al-Malik, said the forum would become an annual event aimed at strengthening Riyadh’s profile as the region’s media capital while also boosting the Kingdom’s reputation as a leading country in the global political and economic arena.
“The media’s role is essential and influential,” Al-Malik said. “This forum will open the way for further discussions, put forward views about the media industry in general and create dialogue with others to better understand global and regional practices.”
He added that the forum and awards were directly supported by the Saudi Minister of Media, Turki Al-Shabanah, who had already held a number of meetings with SJA board members to promote different industry initiatives.
Saudi Media Forum and Awards general manager and SJA board member, Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi, said the Kingdom’s influential political and economic role on the international stage had to be matched by an effective media that was proportionate to the country’s status and importance.
Al-Harthi added that the assembly would discuss trans-continental media practices and global use of media content as a means of soft influence and power. “The forum will offer the chance to touch on the challenges the media industry and social networking platforms face. The event’s agenda will include major work sessions and panel discussions.”
Examining the developments related to the economics of the media industry and issues faced by local media institutions will also be on the forum’s roster. Plus, the gathering will showcase international knowhow about overcoming challenges and the best ways to adapt to changes in the sector.
The forum is expected to attract media experts and professionals from around the world, and Al- Harthi said that the rapid changes taking place in the industry necessitated certifying local media groups and giving them the chance to be mindful of international advances in order to gain skills and competency.
“Such provisions and interactions will enhance and boost their awareness and understanding of the future and challenges for the media, especially since the media’s role is already rooted as one of the most important and influential weapons within the international arena,” he added.
This year’s forum slogan was consistent with the information age and its numerous and diverse sources and communication networks, Al-Harthi said. “The use of information in a timely manner and objective context makes it important to concentrate on the content and to take the profession’s ethics and values into account.”
The general manager said the conference would provide an opportunity to build a mental image that reflects the new Saudi Arabia with its spirit, vitality and ambitions, in the presence of major influencers in the international media industry.
The event will also promote the role of Saudi media in shaping global public opinion and Al-Harthi emphasized the importance of developing an international network of relationships between local and global media institutions.
He said the media awards would encourage and recognize the value of outstanding and professional work by the Kingdom’s journalists and would be split into four categories: Press, visual production, audio production and personality of the year. Winners would receive financial and supportive prizes.
Al- Harthi added that journalists, academics and media representatives in government and private institutions would soon be able to register for the forum and awards.