Communication challenges in digital age focus of Riyadh conference

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Fahad Bahdailah, VP Corporative Communications, SAUDIA. (AN photo by Ali Aldhahri)
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Anne Donnelly, Head of Communications, British Embassy Riyadh. (AN photo by Ali Aldhahri)
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Noor Nuqali, Senior Correspondent, Arab News; during a panel discussion about the changing face of modern media. (AN photo by Ali Aldhahri)
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Experts at MEPRA discuss ways to keep the communications industry relevant in today’s world. (AN photo by Ali Aldhahri)
Updated 22 October 2019

Communication challenges in digital age focus of Riyadh conference

  • Fahad Bahdailah, vice president of corporate communications at Saudia, discussed the power of partnership between Saudia and Formula E, and the export potential of a Saudi brand

RIYADH: The KSA Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) Leadership Majlis explored how communications professionals can remain relevant in a time of change for the industry.
MEPRA included speakers from the UK government, the Red Sea Development Co., the Center for Government Communication, Arab News, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) and Page.
The conference, held on Monday at the Hyatt Regency, brought together senior communications professionals to address the industry’s biggest challenges, trends and opportunities.
The 2019 KSA MEPRA Leadership Majlis covered the theme “Impact and Influence” through presentations and panel discussions on the Saudi brand and changing perceptions of the country.
Faisal Al-Zahrani, executive board member of the International Public Relations Association, discussed some of the challenges and changes in the communications field that Saudi Arabia is experiencing.
“The internet revolutionized the public relations and communications industry, traditional skills like writing, crisis management and public speaking are not adequate anymore. We need to have an enhanced expertise in social media content.”
During the panel discussion on “Shaping Perceptions of Saudi Arabia,” Sultan Al-Bazie, chairman of the Arab Network for Communications and Public Relations, said that the Vision 2030 reform plans are not presented as they should be. “There is a lack in communication and the only person who was able to convey that was Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” he said.
Al-Bazie added that the Saudi government’s communications are not able to convey the right message.
He argued that these entities must be more open to the audience and more able to communicate directly and professionally.
Noor Nugali, senior correspondent at Arab News, was part of the “Changing Face of Modern Media” panel discussion, where she discussed an important topic that most journalists appreciate: Speed.
“From a journalistic point of view, we have to be the first, however, most importantly we have to be accurate and this is something we pride ourselves on.
“Everybody wants to be the first. Everyone wants to have that person of information. Obviously this is important but it is not as important as accuracy and getting the full truth. It may not be easy, but it is something that we pride ourselves on,” she added.
Nugali also discussed how the quality of information is essential but challengeable, especially when spokespersons do not cooperate, she said: “This is something journalists in Saudi Arabia or around the world might complain about.”
Fahad Bahdailah, vice president of corporate communications at Saudia, discussed the power of partnership between Saudia and Formula E, and the export potential of a Saudi brand.
When Bahdailah was asked of how to reduce the lack of communication between the government and the public, he said: “A lot of people have this misperception about spokespersons. The spokesperson should not be in the media all the time. He should be in the media when there is a need for him to be in the media.”


Saudi minister unveils instant visa service for small businesses

Al-Rajhi added that the ministry carried out a number of extensive studies to determine the requirements of small businesses for migrant workers. (SPA)
Updated 20 November 2019

Saudi minister unveils instant visa service for small businesses

  • Al-Rajhi said the ministry will provide a comprehensive set of integrated tools for small-business owners

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans to launch an instant work-visa service next month, through its Qiwa platform, that is specially designed to help new small businesses. Ahmed Al-Rajhi, the minister of labor and social development, said that it will enable young Saudis to launch start-up projects, open small businesses, boost economic growth and accelerate business expansion plans, which will have a positive impact on national development.

During a meeting with entrepreneurs from Hail Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Al-Rajhi said the ministry will provide a comprehensive set of integrated tools for small-business owners, along with a framework for nationalizing the workforce of such enterprises, after an initial grace period, under the Saudi nationalization scheme, Nitaqat. This will help to maintain the stability and continuity of the business during its early days.

He added that the ministry carried out a number of extensive studies to determine the requirements of small businesses for migrant workers, so that the new visa service meets their needs. The ministry places special importance on emerging projects, he said, as part of its role in developing the country's economy, creating job opportunities for young Saudis, and empowering them in the job market.

Earlier, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development launched a visa service for established businesses that are in the process of expanding, as part of its efforts to increase the annual growth of recently established enterprises.