quotes Media plays a critical role in promoting Kingdom’s national mission and preserving cultural heritage

20 March 2023
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Updated 20 March 2023

Media plays a critical role in promoting Kingdom’s national mission and preserving cultural heritage

For eons, nations and states have been anchored by communication and media tools to help showcase their vision and mission statements, assist in preserving their cultures, and manage their narratives to internal and external audiences.

When done strategically and in good faith, the media helps in a significant way to create positive change, and assist in the incremental development of state structures and institutions.

The Saudi Vision 2030 plan is a remarkably detailed and unique roadmap toward achieving a sustainable and ultra-modern Kingdom. Its uniqueness lies in its unwavering emphasis and belief in the will of the Saudi people. In this way it speaks to the core of human interest. The plan has a lot of moving parts because it ingeniously encompasses all sectors of the economy. And like all state endeavors, the media has many roles in it too.

Some of the conventional and expected roles of the media with regard to Vision 2030 include the production of news stories, opinion pieces, features, editorials, short films and commentaries. These stories can go a long way to educate, inform, entertain, and perform all the traditional roles and functions of mediated communication, with the central message being the incredible vision of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In addition, special programming on various platforms including radio, TV and newspapers is also critically important in this regard because in many cases, they are designed to provide depth that news stories or other simple formats might not be able to achieve.

While all of the aforenamed are key roles of the media, from my vantage point as a media scholar, I believe that one of the important roles of multiplatform media organizations in promoting Saudi’s national mission should be the focus on human interest stories, which is how the lives of people are changing in such fundamental ways and shaping a new society.

A word search query on Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 document shows that “society” is mentioned 31 times, “citizens” 22 times, “family” 19 times, and “people” nine times. This is a clue for all well-meaning storytellers to focus on human interest stories. The manner in which the vision is fulfilling the lives and dreams of Saudi citizens should be told through all available media platforms. Stories about visitors and tourists with worthwhile experiences in the Kingdom should also be documented. This would not only help promote the vision of the Kingdom but help ameliorate, quite markedly in my view, the unfair reportage of our country by some Western media outlets. The sum effect would be to make Saudi Arabia a more attractive destination for tourists.

Furthermore, given that Saudi Arabia possesses one of the world’s richest cultures — with numerous historical sites, museums, architecture and literature — the media firstly needs to be strategic in promoting and preserving this heritage, which would help foster a national identity. Secondly, mediated communication must help establish that defacing sacred and cultural landmarks is forbidden. Thirdly, the media must promote and showcase the arts such as theater, crafts, and the nation’s culinary history. Finally, the media must make special effort to emphasize the charm of our tourist attractions, especially traditional architecture, artifacts and iconography.

Dr. Musaab Faleh Alharbi is an assistant professor of media and public relations at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah.