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.

Lebanese news agency boycotts politicians’ media events

Updated 11 August 2020

Lebanese news agency boycotts politicians’ media events

  • Not only Hassan Nasrallah, but all speeches, by all parties. They are nothing more than propaganda. They own their own propaganda bullhorns

LONDON: 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 6 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.