Arab female journalists face up to industry challenges at Riyadh seminar

Some of the participants at the seminar in Riyadh on Wednesday. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Updated 28 November 2019

Arab female journalists face up to industry challenges at Riyadh seminar

  • New reporters should be trained for a full year before starting work to give them a better understanding of the job, Jordanian participant suggests
  • One issue raised was the reluctance of employers to hire journalists who have young children 

RIYADH: Ways of overcoming some of the challenges and prejudices faced by female Arab journalists topped the agenda at a Saudi conference on Wednesday.

Women writers from throughout the Middle East and North Africa region gathered at the headquarters of the Saudi Press Agency in Riyadh for the third session of the Arab Female Journalists seminar.

 Shoura Council member and honorary guest, Nora Al-Shaaban, joined delegates in hailing the increased presence of women in the media sector, but said: “Female journalists have ambitions and it’s their right to achieve them.”

Yemeni journalist Ahlam Abdul Raqeeb participated in a panel — moderated by secretary-general of the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA), Dr. Fareed Ayar — which looked at the professional obstacles that Arab women journalists were sometimes confronted with and how to address them.

Conference delegates were told that Abdul Raqeeb was arrested in Yemen for six days because of her work and was constantly threatened. She escaped her home country with her children after contacting Saudi authorities a few years ago.

In Sudan, more women were being hired into leading roles, said Saeeda Hamat, a Sudanese journalist with the Sudan News Agency.

“Sudanese women hold executive positions in ministries as deputy ministerial advisers, and with the December revolution in Sudan, we now have female ministers. We are progressing. We do not have any obstacles in front of us. Do not cry over spilled milk and stop looking to the past but toward the future,” she told the gathering.

Samiya Al-Saayda from the Jordan News Agency (Petra) suggested that new reporters should be trained for a full year before starting work in order to give them a better understanding of the job. “You wouldn’t let a doctor perform surgery without training and the same goes with ethical journalism.”

Mothers in newsrooms was another issue raised in the same session, with employers often reluctant to hire them.

 


Journalists rally to denounce threats to Pakistani newspaper

Updated 05 December 2019

Journalists rally to denounce threats to Pakistani newspaper

  • Activists criticized this week’s surrounding of English-language newspaper Dawn’s office in Islamabad
  • No detention occurred until now

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani journalists and rights activists have rallied in support of a leading newspaper in Islamabad and elsewhere, days after Islamists gathered at the newspaper, threatening staff and demanding its editor be hanged.
At Thursday’s rally, activists and journalists condemned this week’s besieging of English-language newspaper Dawn’s office in Islamabad.
They criticized the anti-newspaper protesters who want editor Zaffar Abbas and publisher Hameed Haroon hanged for reporting that the London Bridge attacker was of “Pakistani origin.”
The Islamists’ threats at their rally Tuesday outside Dawn’s office were condemned by international media watchdogs and Pakistani journalists who say the protesters blocked the entrance to the building that houses the newspaper and its sister TV channel, Dawn TV.
No arrests have been made so far.