Arab media outlets keep fake news story on Di Caprio’s $10m donation to Ukraine

While Di Caprio did donate, the amount stated was found to be inaccurate and no confirmations about his grandmother’s birthplace have been verified. (File/AFP)
While Di Caprio did donate, the amount stated was found to be inaccurate and no confirmations about his grandmother’s birthplace have been verified. (File/AFP)
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Updated 16 March 2022

Arab media outlets keep fake news story on Di Caprio’s $10m donation to Ukraine

While Di Caprio did donate, the amount stated was found to be inaccurate and no confirmations about his grandmother’s birthplace have been verified. (File/AFP)
  • This is not the first time Arab outlets have poorly sourced or verified a story, let alone amended a fake news article

LONDON: Several Arab media sites have failed to remove or amend a news story regarding actor Leonardo Di Caprio donating $10 million to Ukraine because his maternal grandmother was born there despite it coming out as false.

While Di Caprio did donate, the amount stated was found to be inaccurate and no confirmations about his grandmother’s birthplace have been verified. Reputable Arabic news sites including Al Araby, however, kept the original fake news story.

Other outlets such as Sawt Beirut, Roayah News and ElBalad also kept the story up.

These Arab news entities are not the only ones to have published the false news story, with global outlets like The Independent, The Daily Mail and Euronews, among others, at fault.

However, unlike the Arab outlets, the story on each of these websites was amended or deleted.

This is not the first time Arab outlets have poorly sourced or verified a story, let alone amended a fake news article.

Last year, major news sites in the Arab world published fake news regarding the role of the late Saudi Petroleum Minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani following his death.

Arab outlets, including the Kingdom’s main business daily Al-Eqtisadiah, the English-language daily Saudi Gazette, the highly quoted Okaz newspaper, news portal Akhbaar 24 and even the Saudi Broadcasting Authority’s official state newscaster, Al-Ekhbariya, referred to Yamani as the first-ever secretary-general of OPEC — when he, in fact, was not.

An editorial review of the published Arabic-language articles containing this factual error found that the source of the mistake was Yamani’s Arabic-language Wikipedia page, which lists him as the “first secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.”


MBC Group and Dubai Business Women Council host Women in Media forum

MBC Group and Dubai Business Women Council host Women in Media forum
Updated 24 September 2022

MBC Group and Dubai Business Women Council host Women in Media forum

MBC Group and Dubai Business Women Council host Women in Media forum
  • Two companies have signed a strategic partnership to coordinate their efforts to further women’s careers

DUBAI: The Dubai Business Women Council organized the “Women in Media” forum in collaboration with MBC Group, to discuss the role that media organizations can play in increasing the representation and accountability of women in media.

The event is part of the council’s #DBWCFORUMS initiative, which includes a series of talks that aim to raise awareness about the challenges and opportunities for women in different industries. 

During the event, MBC Group and DBWC signed a memorandum of understanding, which aims to coordinate and align both companies’ efforts in providing their female employees and members with access to mentorship programs, workshops and speaker sessions.

“This collaboration is of special importance as it unites two partners who value women and recognize their critical contribution to the economy,” said Nadine Halabi, business development manager of the Dubai Business Women Council.

“The council will continue to be committed to harnessing all available resources to serve its members and the business community, by organizing specialized events and seminars that add value to their personal and professional lives,” she said.

The forum focused on the importance of maximizing women’s strengths and potential to advance media work, develop strong female media role models, increase gender diversity, and foster a culture of success in the media industry.

Participants discussed the mechanisms needed to ensure balanced female representation in media, the best practices adopted by media leaders and officials, and the value of diversity in the workplace.

Samar Akrouk, group director of production at MBC Group, who held a fireside chat at the event, said: “MBC Group is proud to be a progressive trailblazer — on and off screen — in promoting gender equality. Throughout our organization and across most departments we have women in top leadership positions, as well as women that are identified and set on leadership tracks.”

“However, we are progressive enough to look at ourselves and say we can do more — and we will do more,” she said.

Akrouk highlighted self-limiting beliefs and how they can affect women in the workplace. She also offered advice on how to overcome these beliefs and offered guidance to those seeking a career in media.

The forum also featured three panel discussions.

The first panel brought together Rana Alamuddin, founder of BAYNEH W BAYNEK; Sally Moussa Hajjar, managing partner, Humanagement and Mohammed Abdulhaq, executive producer at MBC Group, to discuss the role and responsibility of media outlets in creating positive role models for regional audiences.

The second panel saw Bedriya Al-Saeed, employee engagement manager at MBC Group; Tala Obeidat, client partner, Leading Retail & Restaurants, Meta and Sara Eltarzi, communications director at OSN, discuss the steps and policies that led to better inclusivity and gender parity in media organizations.

The third and final panel brought together Rola Ghotmeh, founder and chief creative officer, The Creative 9; Natasha Romariz Maasri, executive creative director, Leo Burnett MEA and Andrej Arsenijevic, executive creative director and sustainability lead at Commonwealth McCann Dubai, to talk about responsible and impactful advertising and how to push boundaries through strategic messaging in society.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with MBC Group and look forward to coordinating our future efforts to develop the abilities of women and female business owners while also assisting them in acquiring media and marketing skills that can advance their careers,” Halabi said.
 


STARZPLAY reveals Saudi viewership trends

STARZPLAY reveals Saudi viewership trends
Updated 23 September 2022

STARZPLAY reveals Saudi viewership trends

STARZPLAY reveals Saudi viewership trends
  • Comedy, anime and Arabic drama are most watched categories in Kingdom

DUBAI: Regional streaming platform STARZPLAY has released a study revealing the viewership trends of Saudi audiences in 2022.

Comedy, anime and Arabic drama were the most watched categories in the Kingdom, the study found.

“The Big Bang Theory,” “The Office and “Two and a Half Men” are among the top watched comedy shows, while “Naruto,” “Naruto: Shippuden” and “Attack on Titan” top the list of anime shows.

In line with the popularity of anime content, STARZPLAY is adding an anime movie, “One Piece: Stampede” by Takashi Otsuka, to its library.

This year, “Ertugrul” and “Al Mo’asses Osman” were the most watched Turkish titles among Saudi viewers, while the new seasons of “Bab Al-Hara” and “Al-Daheeh” topped the charts for premium Arabic content.

In addition to these categories, Saudi audiences also favored exclusive action movies like “Hummingbird,” “Wild Card,” “Gringo” and “Misfits,” as well as first-run movie releases such as “House of Gucci,” “Infinite,” “Last Seen Alive” and “Clean.”

The most binge-watched shows this year included “Dexter: New Blood,” “The Flash,” “Your Honor,” “Young Sheldon,” “The Good Doctor” and “Mr. Robot.”

Most STARZPLAY users in Saudi Arabia streamed content via their TVs, with 42 percent of all consumption occuring on smart TVs, followed by iOS and Android devices.

“While anime, comedy and Arabic drama remain favorite genres for our viewers, we also saw an increasing interest for live sporting events this year, which has immensely benefited our position as the ultimate platform for sports in the MENA region,” said Nadim Dada, vice-president of programming and content acquisition at STARZPLAY.

In celebration of Saudi National Day, all new users who sign up on the day can enjoy a discounted rate of SR9.2 ($2.4) per month with lifetime validity.

The Kingdom “continues to be one of our largest markets, with our platform witnessing stupendous growth this year,” said Dada, who added: “We look forward to strengthening our presence in the market.”


Media rights watchdog condemns arrest of Iranian journalists as anti-state protests spread

Media rights watchdog condemns arrest of Iranian journalists as anti-state protests spread
Updated 23 September 2022

Media rights watchdog condemns arrest of Iranian journalists as anti-state protests spread

Media rights watchdog condemns arrest of Iranian journalists as anti-state protests spread
  • Government-imposed internet blackout makes it difficult to obtain information on individuals in detention

LONDON: Media rights watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists has demanded the release of all journalists detained while reporting on anti-government protests in Iran.

“Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all journalists arrested while covering mass protests around the country and restore blocked internet access to the country,” the CPJ said in a statement on Thursday.

As reported by CPJ, Iranian authorities have arrested at least seven journalists since protests began last Saturday.

A government-imposed, near-total internet blackout has caused major disruptions to phone networks and social media apps, making it difficult to obtain further information about individuals who have been detained.

According to exile-based Iranian human rights group Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, clashes between security forces and protesters have left 15 people dead and 733 injured.

“Iranian authorities must immediately release all journalists arrested because of their coverage of Mahsa Amini’s death and the protests that have followed,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour.

“Iranian security forces must drop their repressive measures against the journalists telling this critical story and restore the internet access that is vital to keep the public informed.”

Protests erupted across Iran last week following the death of Amini, a 22-year-old woman detained by morality police after allegedly violating Iran’s strict hijab law.

Women first took to the streets to protest against police brutality and call for more freedom from Islamic law, which requires them to cover their hair and wear long, baggy clothing.

In the past few days protests intensified, with other women posting online videos of themselves cutting their hair and burning the hijab.

On Monday, authorities arrested photojournalist Yalda Moaiery. Two days later,  reporter Niloofar Hamedi was detained after security forces raided her home and confiscated personal devices.

Recent events in Iran have provoked an international outcry, with protesters staging rallies in front of Iranian embassies worldwide.

 


People with hearing disabilities to experience Saudi anthem at this year’s National Day

People with hearing disabilities to experience Saudi anthem at this year’s National Day
The flag features multi-force sensors woven into the fabric of a Saudi Arabian flag. (Supplied)
Updated 23 September 2022

People with hearing disabilities to experience Saudi anthem at this year’s National Day

People with hearing disabilities to experience Saudi anthem at this year’s National Day
  • Haptic technology used to create immersive flag experience, bringing music to life

LONDON: The King Salman Center for Disability Research and Saudi Research & Media Group announced on Thursday the launch of cutting-edge haptic technology that allows people with hearing disabilities to experience the Kingdom’s national anthem.

The two companies have teamed up to design a wearable “hearing flag” that enables people to “feel” the song as part of a campaign celebrating Saudi Arabia’s 92nd National Day.

The flag features multi-force sensors woven into the fabric of a Saudi Arabian flag, to create an immersive experience that brings music to life in a way that can be felt physically on the body.

“Using the ‘hearing flag,’ people can immerse themselves in sound through real-time touch haptics which recreate the sensation of sound on the body,” said the two companies in a statement.

King Salman Center for Disability Research tweeted from its official account: “Have you heard of a sound that gives life? Have you heard of a flag that sings to the nation?”

The campaign, which is a partnership between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, highlights how Saudi National Day “symbolizes the spirit of cooperation and empowerment of all members of society.”

To promote the initiative, King Salman Center for Disability Research and SRMG also launched an emotional campaign film across social media platforms depicting people’s first encounters with the flag and their own national anthem.

The flag, born out an idea by SRMG, was produced by London-based wearable technology brand CuteCircuit, which pioneers smart textile and interactive fashion.


Snapchat launches new activation for Saudi National Day

Snapchat launches new activation for Saudi National Day
Updated 23 September 2022

Snapchat launches new activation for Saudi National Day

Snapchat launches new activation for Saudi National Day
  • Users can explore upcoming projects in the Kingdom through app 

RIYADH: Snapchat has launched a new augmented reality activation to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s 92nd National Day.

Last year, the platform introduced a first-of-its-kind activation, which saw the Snap Map of Saudi Arabia appearing in bright green to represent the national flag and the Kingdom highlighted from other countries, marking the first time Snap recolored a Middle East territory on the map.

Along with the color change, Snap also marked cultural and heritage sites — such as AlUla, Tabuk Castle, Alkhobar Water Tower, Rijal Almaa, Masmak Fort and Nassif House — on the map, allowing users to explore the Kingdom.

This year, the platform is building on the theme “This is our home,” by enabling users to access a world lens and explore the future of Saudi Arabia.

Users in the Kingdom will be able to learn about Saudi’s existing landmarks and future projects, including the Red Sea Project, a luxury destination that is set to customize experiences to the needs of each visitor, as well as NEOM’s new-age Oxagon city.

Users will also have the chance to explore Qiddiya, an entertainment megaproject to be established in Riyadh, as well as NEOM’s The Line project, which will see Saudi’s first smart linear city being built without cars, streets or carbon emissions.

Saudis can show their national spirit through the Face Lens experience and snap a photo with celebratory decorations featuring fireworks and confetti.

“Saudi Snapchatters are among the most engaged globally and in celebration of National Day we wanted to provide our community with a unique opportunity to mark this special day,” said Abdulla Alhammadi, regional business lead at Snap Inc.

“In addition to shedding light on several mega-projects that are set to shape the future of the Kingdom, this activation allows Snapchatters to express their love for the nation and celebrate National Day through an AR-powered and engaging experience,” he said.

Snapchat was ranked as the second most used social media platform in the Kingdom, according to the latest Arab Youth Survey.