Journalists rally to denounce threats to Pakistani newspaper

Pakistani journalists take part in a demonstration to show solidarity with the workers of English-language newspaper Dawn, in Karachi, Pakistan on Thursday. (AP)
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.


Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

Updated 24 February 2020

Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

  • MBC Group to support young film makers with training from industry professionals

LONDON: Young Arab film makers will have the opportunity to have their work showcased at next month’s Red Sea International Film Festival as investment in Saudi cinema gathers pace.

The Red Sea International Film Festival has announced a partnership with MBC Group, which will also broadcast the event’s opening ceremony on March 12.

As part of the deal, MBC Al Amal, MBC’s corporate social responsibility arm, will hold a Shorts pitch competition.

Ten short film projects will be selected from Saudi Arabia and the MENA region, with filmmakers being given a one-day workshop to prepare for a pitching session. 

Italian director and producer Stefano Tealdi will train the candidates to strengthen their skills and give them tips for better pitches, MBC said.

“We strongly believe that this new generation of talent is key in influencing change and creating the difference to the region’s media and entertainment content landscape, which of course includes independent film and mainstream cinema,” said Peter Smith, managing director of MBC Studios.

The region’s biggest broadcaster will also host talent days on March 17 and 18 to support Saudi scriptwriters, directors and producers.

The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival takes place March 12-21 in Jeddah Old Town, under the theme “Changing the Script.” It aims to support and help grow Saudi Arabia’s emerging film industry which is attracting a slew of investment from homegrown dramas shot in the Kingdom to the construction of cinemas countrywide.

Real estate broker CBRE estimates that 45 new cinemas are expected to open this year.

The boom in cinema construction coincides with a push to develop the domestic Saudi film industry.

That is being driven by both the big and small screen as video-on-demand players that include MBC, Netflix and Amazon compete to deliver content that speaks to a young Arab audience.