Dutch journalist shooting an ‘attack on our values’: EU chief

Police officers investigate the site of an attack where a Dutch journalist, Peter R. de Vries was seriously injured in a shooting in Amsterdam. (AFP)
Police officers investigate the site of an attack where a Dutch journalist, Peter R. de Vries was seriously injured in a shooting in Amsterdam. (AFP)
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Updated 07 July 2021

Dutch journalist shooting an ‘attack on our values’: EU chief

Police officers investigate the site of an attack where a Dutch journalist, Peter R. de Vries was seriously injured in a shooting in Amsterdam. (AFP)
  • EU condemns attack on Dutch crime reporter, Peter de Vries who was fighting for his life after the attack in central Amsterdam.
  • De Vries was shot Tuesday evening in the Dutch capital as he left a television studio after appearing on a talk show.

STRASBOURG: EU chief Charles Michel on Wednesday condemned the shooting of Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, who was fighting for his life after the attack in central Amsterdam.
“This is a crime against journalism and an attack on our values of democracy and rule of law. We will relentlessly continue to defend the freedom of the press,” Michel wrote on Twitter.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen offered her “thoughts and solidarity” to de Vries.
“We might disagree with a lot we see in our media but we have to agree that journalists investigating potential abuses of power are not a threat but an asset to our democracies and our societies,” she told European lawmakers debating threats to the rule of law in the bloc.
De Vries was shot Tuesday evening in the Dutch capital as he left a television studio after appearing on a talk show.
Police said three people had been arrested, among them the suspected shooter, but gave no details on the possible reasons for the attack.
Eyewitnesses told local media that the 64-year-old celebrity journalist and TV presenter was shot as many as five times, including once in the head.
Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld decried the “cowardly” shooting and pointed to a string of deadly attacks against investigative reporters in the 27-nation bloc over the past few years.
Greece was rocked in April by the fatal shooting of crime journalist Giorgos Karaivaz, who was gunned down by attackers on a motorbike outside his home in Athens.
Other high-profile cases include the killing of Maltese anti-graft reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia in a car bombing in 2017 and the fatal 2018 shooting of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee.


WFA’s Planet Pledge pushes marketers to act on climate change

WFA’s Planet Pledge pushes marketers to act on climate change
Updated 1 min 5 sec ago

WFA’s Planet Pledge pushes marketers to act on climate change

WFA’s Planet Pledge pushes marketers to act on climate change
  • Global campaign will see 17 major multinationals commit to driving change both internally and among consumers 

DUBAI: Four major multinationals, including drinks companies Asahi Europe & International, Carlsberg Group and Pernod Ricard as well as IKEA, have joined 13 other major multinationals in the World Federation of Advertisers’ Planet Pledge, a global commitment to making marketing teams a force for positive change both internally and with the consumers who buy their products and services.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO0FAMv-jN8&t=1s

The four new companies join signatories Bayer, Danone, Diageo, Dole Packaged Foods, Mastercard, Orsted, Reckitt, Telefonica, Tesco and Unilever as well as L’Oreal, NatWest and PepsiCo. in using the power of marketing to drive action on climate change.

Alongside the multinationals, 22 national advertiser associations in various countries have committed to promoting the pledge to local advertisers, highlighting the role marketing can play in delivering change and creating a network of local champions around the world.

“I am delighted that these four companies and so many of our national association partners have signed up to the Planet Pledge,” said WFA CEO Stephan Loerke.

“In light of the recent UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report, which lays bare the challenge of climate change, it’s vital that our members commit to not only reducing their impact but also to educate consumers about how they can have an impact, too,” he added.

Planet Pledge was launched at WFA’s Global Marketer Week in April this year and seeks to find a clear role for marketing as a positive force for environmental change by encouraging chief marketing officers to take action in four key areas:

Commit to being a champion, both internally within their organizations and by encouraging their marketing supply chain to do the same, for the global “Race to Zero” campaign, which encourages “businesses, cities, regions, and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth,” according to the UN.

Scale the capability of marketing organizations to lead for climate action by providing tools and guidance for their marketers and agencies.

Harness the power of their marketing communications to drive more sustainable consumer behaviors.

Reinforce a trustworthy marketing environment, where sustainability claims can be easily substantiated so that consumers can trust the marketing messages they are presented with.

The WFA will track and report progress on all these goals on an annual basis. It will also work with advertising standards bodies worldwide and other relevant stakeholders to deliver industry guidance that will preserve trust in the evolving language of environmental claims in a way that enables consumers to make sustainable choices.

The pledge is designed to amplify the association’s existing efforts and direct its members and their value chain partners toward them. In addition, it introduces new actions that marketing leaders can initiate and champion.

“Addressing climate change can seem complex, but marketing teams have the skills to make it easier for everyone to understand how they can make a real difference. Joining the WFA Planet Pledge is a serious statement of intent. We look forward to more brands signing up in the future and seeing how marketers can take the lead on addressing the world’s most pressing challenge,” added Loerke.


Are some Saudi social media influencers crossing the line?

Are some Saudi social media influencers crossing the line?
Updated 17 September 2021

Are some Saudi social media influencers crossing the line?

Are some Saudi social media influencers crossing the line?
  • Saudi social media stars are learning they must play by the rules — or pay the price

RIYADH: Saudi social media influencers have become a key element in the Kingdom’s advertising market in recent years, but many are increasingly aware they risk a backlash if their growing power is not used wisely.
While many observers argue that influencers serve a positive purpose, others say they are simply filling the airwaves with nonsense — but there can be no disputing the effect they have, especially when using the right tone to sell a product, brand or idea.
However, marketers warn that this can be a double-edged sword, with influencers naively thinking they can get away with simple advertising techniques or using a convincing sales pitch, while others break established rules and even laws in a bid to gain followers.
Either approach can land influencers in trouble and, thanks to the internet’s long memory, the damage can linger for years.

Some influencers do not think except to rush behind their interests and gain from advertisements or the number of followers  — Dr. Abdulrahman Alazmi, Associate professor of psychology at Naif University

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce has strict and clearly defined rules for online advertisements, and regularly updates “red-flagged” establishments and shady businesses. The ministry also issues warnings against spreading rumors or promoting products that fail to comply with the relevant authorities’ standards. Firms or individuals who breach regulations are subject to legal action, including hefty fines.
Some marketing and advertising outfits told Arab News that they face difficulty at times over influencers’ failure to comply with the rules, “interacting with the spirit of the law rather than its text.”
Nafel Al-Nabhan, a Snapchat influencer, said that he does his best to comply with legal and ethical standards. “I do not target a specific category in my posts; they’re just moments that I share and consider as a daily diary with both good and bad,” he said. “I made many mistakes because I did not study the media, but I learned from my mistakes, and that was fun.”
Al-Nabhan said that his views on social media platforms have changed over time. “After Twitter deleted former US President Donald Trump’s account, social media became more powerful than bombs and bullets,” he said.
Deena Alardi, an Instagram and Snapchat influencer, said that “being present in the largest media source today is a great responsibility, so I must act within the laws, regulations and conditions (outlined) by official and private bodies in this field.”
Asked about the challenges she faces, Alardi admits that communicating her message to the public can be difficult, but said she is determined to maintain her standards.
“I have not and will not allow myself to resort to methods that are an embarrassment in front of the community.” The influencer said that content must be studied and planned professionally. “My high regard for people has put me in some bad situations that I do not want to repeat. You should not trust easily,” she said.
“It is normal for thinking to change over time,” Alardi said, adding that some influencers lower society’s view of their lives, interests and priorities because they present unrealistic, exaggerated and sometimes false claims.
“The audience believes everything it sees, and this is one mistake that can backfire.”
Nourah Al-Salem, another Snapchat influencer, said: “There is no doubt that the influencer is a byproduct of their environment and culture, and they have moral standards and responsibilities to highlight the positive aspects of society.”

There are standards that we adhere to with influencers, and the most important are ethical behavior and good reputation. We are also interested in adhering to the customs, traditions and culture of society — Moustafa Reda, Managing director at the First Exhibitor marketing agency

She added: “As for delivering messages to my audience, the challenges are simple since they have a high level of awareness and deep understanding. I do not need to pretend or resort to devious methods that leave me embarrassed in front of my followers or society.”
Dr. Abdulrahman Alazmi, an associate professor of psychology at Naif University, told Arab News that some influencers resort to dishonest behavior to gain followers, especially those in adolescence and childhood.
“The influencer at this age is looking for enjoyment because it is compatible with his audience in their age group. Bad behavior can be comedic, prompting followers to publish, spread and follow an influencer, and giving the influencer negative support to make them interact more and behave in a way that attracts the attention of children and teenagers,” he said.
“Some influencers do not think except to rush behind their interests and gain from advertisements or the number of followers.”
Alazmi, who specializes in family counseling, said that an influencer’s mistakes in the short term are usually limited to fame, advertisements and interests. “However, in the long run, the impact is very painful, because this person documents himself through videos that do not correspond to his stage after the age of 40, for example, and his sons will not accept them in the future. He reveals to himself and his family that he is superficial, and he has a behavioral deviation that is not appropriate for him when he grows older.”
Nasser Alodah, general manager at advertising and digital marketing specialists the NOB Agency, told Arab News that the firm insists influencers agree with the conditions requested by a client, such as advertising the work, obtaining approval and adhering to the number of views.
At least 95 percent of influencers agree to these conditions, he said.
“In the past we had difficulty dealing with influencers when signing the terms. Some did not want to sign, perhaps because they see that signing with others is a big responsibility and it is frightening for them. The professionalism and knowledge of most distinguished influencers today has made signing contracts an easy matter,” Alodah said. As for influencers with bad reputations, Alodah said that the agency steers away from them and advises clients to do the same.
“When an influencer violates one or more conditions, it is discretionary. For example, if the mistake is out of the influencer’s control, we move past it, and sometimes we see that we are partners in the mistake, like having to postpone shooting or something, and so we resort to discussions with the influencer and the matter is often settled amicably.”

If the mistake is out of the influencer’s control, we get past it, and sometimes we see that we are partners in the mistake — Nasser Alodah, NOB Agency general manager

He added: “As for whoever makes a mistake intentionally, we cancel the deal with them and inform the party with which we are contracted that we are canceling the contract with this person. I think this is one of the strongest punishments an influencer can receive.”
Moustafa Reda, managing director at the First Exhibitor marketing agency, said: “There are standards that we adhere to with influencers, and the most important are ethical behavior and good reputation. We are also interested in adhering to the customs, traditions and culture of society.”
The agency is also keen to main influencers’ “credibility” on social media. Reda said that influencers could be divided into two groups: “Some understand the nature of the work, and the culture and environment in which they are located, while others violate these agreed conditions.”
Only a small number fell into the second category, he said.
He agreed that some influencers’ love of image and fame leaves them vulnerable to unintentional mistakes. “Still, as professionals, we remind them to follow guidelines and go by the book.”
According to Ahmed Nazzal, CEO of Wajahah Marketing, working with influencers demands high standards. “The most important is reputation, society’s view of this person, his view of society, and respecting the culture, and respecting customs and traditions.” He said that influencers, like everyone, are prone to error and many receive insufficient training for their role.


2018 change to Facebook algorithm caused spread of ‘misinformation, toxicity, violent content’

2018 change to Facebook algorithm caused spread of ‘misinformation, toxicity, violent content’
Updated 16 September 2021

2018 change to Facebook algorithm caused spread of ‘misinformation, toxicity, violent content’

2018 change to Facebook algorithm caused spread of ‘misinformation, toxicity, violent content’
  • An algorithm change made by Facebook in 2018 to prioritize reshared material instead led to the spread of “misinformation, toxicity, and violent content”

LONDON: An algorithm change made by Facebook in 2018 to prioritize reshared material instead led to the spread of “misinformation, toxicity, and violent content,” leaked internal documents have revealed.

That year, Facebook’s chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, said the alteration had been carried out in a bid to strengthen bonds between platform users, particularly family and friends, and to improve their wellbeing.

However, according to the leaked documents that were made public on Wednesday, the modification backfired, turning the social networking platform into an angrier place by rewarding outrage and sensationalism.

The new algorithm produced high levels of comments and reactions that translated into success on Facebook but had a highly negative impact.

Highlighting the issue, a team of data scientists said: “Our approach has had unhealthy side effects on important slices of public content, such as politics and news.”

They concluded that the new algorithm’s heavy weighting of reshared material in its news feed made the angry voices louder.

“Misinformation, toxicity, and violent content are inordinately prevalent among reshares,” the researchers added in internal memos.

The alteration had been intended to encourage engagement and original posting in a way that the algorithm would reward posts with more comments and emotion emojis, which were viewed as more meaningful than likes.

Zuckerberg was reportedly warned about the problem in April 2020 but kept the algorithm in place regardless.


French court lowers Bloomberg fine over hoax Vinci statement -media reports

French court lowers Bloomberg fine over hoax Vinci statement -media reports
Updated 16 September 2021

French court lowers Bloomberg fine over hoax Vinci statement -media reports

French court lowers Bloomberg fine over hoax Vinci statement -media reports
  • Bloomberg News was originally fined $5.9 million in December 2019 for publishing a hoax press release
  • AMF said at the time that Bloomberg should have known the information in the hoax press release was false

PARIS: A French appeal court on Thursday upheld a ruling by France’s markets watchdog AMF against US news agency Bloomberg for publishing a hoax press release, French media reported, but lowered its fine to three million euros.
Bloomberg News was originally fined five million euros ($5.9 million) in December 2019 for publishing a hoax press release in November 2016 relating to construction group Vinci, which had filed a legal complaint to the AMF.
The AMF said at the time that Bloomberg should have known the information in the hoax press release was false.
“Our journalists, among others, simply reported on what appeared to be newsworthy information and were the victims of a sophisticated hoax, the perpetrator of which has not yet been found,” a Bloomberg spokesperson said after Thursday’s ruling.
“We hoped that the court would recognize the issues of press freedom at stake. We are disappointed the court has not overturned the original decision and will consider our options on appeal,” they added.
Vinci shares fell as much as 18 percent on Nov. 22, 2016 after the hoax statement, which said that the French group would revise its 2015 and 2016 accounts and fire its chief financial officer.
The AMF had said it had taken action against Bloomberg because it had published the statement without verifying it.
Vinci’s share price recovered after the company denied the Bloomberg report and said that the statement was a hoax.
The appeal court’s ruling was not immediately available on its website or on the AMF’s own site.


Palestinian activist twins feature in 2021 TIME 100 list 

The siblings, along with their family, were threatened with forceful removal from their home in Sheikh Jarrah by Israeli settlers. (AFP)
The siblings, along with their family, were threatened with forceful removal from their home in Sheikh Jarrah by Israeli settlers. (AFP)
Updated 16 September 2021

Palestinian activist twins feature in 2021 TIME 100 list 

The siblings, along with their family, were threatened with forceful removal from their home in Sheikh Jarrah by Israeli settlers. (AFP)
  • Palestinian rights activists and twins Muna and Mohammed El-Kurd have been named in TIME magazine’s 2021 list of the 100 most influential people in the world

LONDON: Palestinian rights activists and twins Muna and Mohammed El-Kurd have been named in TIME magazine’s 2021 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

For the past few months, the 23-year-old twins have provided the world with a window into living under occupation in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, becoming the faces of a global campaign to halt forcible displacement.

The siblings, along with their family, were threatened with forceful removal from their home in Sheikh Jarrah by Israeli settlers last April, an action which sparked the following tension and conflict that unfolded in Palestine.

In June this year, the siblings were temporarily detained and questioned by Israeli forces over their activism.

A month before that, tensions in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood spilled into the nearby Old City, where Israeli forces attacked worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Hamas militants in Gaza responded with attacks on Israel.

“Through online  posts and media appearances, sibling activists Mohammed and Muna El-Kurd provided the world with a window into living under occupation in East Jerusalem this spring — helping to prompt an international shift in rhetoric in regard to Israel and Palestine,” TIME said.

Mohammad El-Kurd, took to twitter to say that although being named to the list was a “positive” development, “symbolism is not enough to truly support the Palestinian cause.” 

Recently, Mohammed El-Kurd was named the Palestinian Correspondent for The Nation magazine in the US after urging the publication to start a Palestinian bureau.