Saudi Cabinet minister highlights media’s powerful role in today’s world

Fahd Al-Mubarak, minister of state, left, with moderator Talat Zaki Hafiz at the Saudi Media Forum in Riyadh on Monday. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Updated 03 December 2019

Saudi Cabinet minister highlights media’s powerful role in today’s world

  • People know about Saudi Arabia hosting the summit because of the media providing news updates

RIYADH: Fahd Al-Mubarak, minister of state and a member of the Saudi Council of Ministers, told an audience at the Saudi Media Forum that the media is central to information and plays a vital role in informing society about what happens in the world.

During a discussion on media opportunities for Saudi Arabia during a session on the G20 Summit, Al-Mubarak said: “We believe in the role of media all over the world, we get information from media and depend on it for solutions to issues.

“People know about Saudi Arabia hosting the summit because of the media providing news updates.”

Al-Mubarak, who has been secretary-general of the G20 Saudi Secretariat since 2017 and the Kingdom’s G20 sherpa since 2018, said: “We believe in three Cs: Coordinate, cooperate and communicate. Communication is the most important one,” adding that the media plays a vital role in informing society about what happens around us.

He said that the G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation and gathers the leaders of the largest economies of the world to discuss financial and social issues.

In the run-up to the summit, the presidency will host several meetings featuring ministers, senior government officials and civil society representatives.

The minister said Saudi Arabia has been a member of the G20 since its founding in 1999. He added that the organization is crucial for the discussion of policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability and that the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plans work in the same direction.

“Vision 2030 is an important reform plan and we are undergoing a transformation in alignment with G20 goals,” he said.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday became the first Arab country to assume the G20 presidency, taking over from Japan.

“Saudi Arabia taking over the G20 presidency from Japan is a very important development,” Al-Mubarak added.

The presidency will see the Kingdom host world leaders for a global summit in Riyadh between Nov. 21-22, 2020.

The Saudi presidency will focus on three aims: Empowering people through improving working conditions, safeguarding the planet by fostering collective efforts on food and water security, climate, energy and the environment, and long-term strategies to share the benefits of innovation and technological advancement.

The session was moderated by Talat Zaki Hafiz, secretary-general of Saudi banks’ media and banking awareness committee.

Earlier, Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi, president of the Saudi Media Forum and Awards, sent a powerful message at the beginning of the session about the value of the media: “We believe in the freedom of journalism and its role.”


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.