Saudi Media Awards chief unveils board of directors

Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi. (AN file photo)
Updated 03 October 2019

Saudi Media Awards chief unveils board of directors

  • The aim of the awards, which will be handed out annually, is to recognize distinguished media practitioners on a global scale

RIYADH: Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi, the president of the Saudi Media Awards, has unveiled the board of directors who will oversee the event, its rules and regulations, and ensure its independence and professionalism.

Joining him on the board are: Writer Samir Atallah; Sami Al-Nusif, the former Kuwaiti minister of information; Dr. Hashem Abdo Hashem, former editor in chief of Okaz newspaper; writer Dr. Khairiya Al-Saqqaf; writer Dr. Faten Shaker; Mohammed Altunisi, general manager of MBC Group in Saudi Arabia; Dr. Jamal bin Huwaireb, cultural adviser to the government of Dubai and director of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Cultural Foundation; Dr. Diaa Rashwan, president of the Egyptian Press Syndicate; Dr. Fayez Al-Shehri a member of the Saudi Shoura Council; and Dr. Othman Al-Sini, editor in chief of Al-Watan newspaper.

Al-Harthi said that the board will supervise the awards, including all guidelines and policies. He added that the judging process will be independent of the board; for each category, a committee has been set up to evaluate the nominees for quality, excellence and innovation.

The aim of the awards, which will be handed out annually, is to recognize distinguished media practitioners on a global scale, said Al-Harthi. The committee has received dozens of nominations, from institutions and individuals, he added, reflecting achievements and quality in the media field that deserve to be highlighted and honored. Submissions will continue to be accepted until Oct. 7.

The Saudi Media Awards, which complement the work of the Saudi Media Forum, is one of the initiatives launched by the Saudi Journalists Association in an attempt to develop media content in the Kingdom, Al-Harthi said, by stimulating competition and creativity, and honoring excellence among creators. He added that the launch of the awards marks an important step in the evolution of Saudi media, which is undergoing significant changes and tackling huge challenges.

Al-Harthi welcomed the positive reaction the awards have received from media organizations, which he said was reflected in the number of nominations received from print, radio and television outlets. He said that the organizers had studied global and regional media awards programs to help set standards consistent with professionalism, excellence and individuality. The categories will be reviewed annually by the board of directors to identify any changes or additions that are needed.

The categories for the inaugural event include: Journalism (which includes awards for political, economic, cultural, social, investigative and sports reporting, images and cartoons); TV reporting and TV dialogue; audio reporting; media application; entrepreneurial media; and public media figure of the year.

Individuals working in Saudi media organizations can be nominated for all categories, except public media figure of the year, the recipient of which will be selected by the board of directors.


US Congress members push for Al Jazeera to register as foreign agent

Updated 13 July 2020

US Congress members push for Al Jazeera to register as foreign agent

  • US Congress amended the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in 2018 requiring all foreign media outlets based in America to detail their ties to foreign governments
  • The law is part of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which was adopted in 1938 to identify Nazi propaganda outlets in the US

CHICAGO: The Qatari-owned satellite news channel, Al Jazeera, is facing renewed pressure to register as a foreign agent in the US under a two-year-old law.

After a year-long push, the US Congress amended the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in 2018 requiring all foreign media outlets based in America to detail their ties to foreign governments.

The law is part of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which was adopted in 1938 to identify Nazi propaganda outlets in the US.

They are required to include, “a description of the relationship of such outlet to the foreign principal of such outlet, including a description of the legal structure of such relationship and any funding that such outlet receives from such principal.”

Among news outlets forced to register is the Russian-owned broadcaster RT. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, that prompted the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association — the body in charge of issuing press passes for the US House of Representatives and the Senate — to revoke the outlet’s pass.

Soon after, in February 2019, the China Global Television Network (CGTN) registered under the act and lost access to Congress, although another media outlet funded by the Chinese government, Xinhua News Agency, has not.

Last year, several influential lawmakers demanded the same requirement be imposed on Al Jazeera, whose chairman is Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al-Thani, a member of the ruling family.

The broadcaster was founded by the former emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who handed over power to his son, Sheikh Tamim, in 2013.

The current emir’s brother has been accused of committing murder and assault against Americans in a Massachusetts-based lawsuit, and the Qatar Charity funded by the Qatar Foundation were recently accused of funding terrorist violence that killed or maimed 10 American citizens in Israel.

The signatories include US Senators Tom Cotton, Chuck Grassley, John Cornyn, Todd Young, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, and Representatives Mike Johnson and Lee Zeldin.

“Qatar’s officials have said that government-controlled media is a form of ‘soft power.’ As such, one can reasonably infer that Al Jazeera is a messaging tool for the Qatari government and on its behalf has engaged in inherently political activities and sought to influence public opinion in the US,” the lawmakers wrote.

Click here to read the letter:

https://www.cotton.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1161

Critics note that Al Jazeera’s videos on YouTube are stamped with the disclaimer, “Al Jazeera is funded in whole or in part by the Qatari government.”