NEOM and SRMG agree partnership to enhance regional media ecosystem

NEOM and SRMG agree partnership to enhance regional media ecosystem
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Updated 11 June 2023
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NEOM and SRMG agree partnership to enhance regional media ecosystem

NEOM and SRMG agree partnership to enhance regional media ecosystem
  • SRMG and NEOM have signed a MoU to collaborate across a range of activities
  • Key outcomes include increased content production in NEOM, media technology development and integration, and media training programmes
  • The partnership will provide a significant boost to the regional media ecosystem

RIYADH: SRMG, a global integrated media group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NEOM Media Industries, a developing regional center for media and creative industries in the heart of Saudi Arabia. The MoU, which outlines a range of focus areas, underlines a shared dedication to enhancing the media ecosystem in the region.

NEOM will leverage SRMG’s media expertise, extensive portfolio and established partnerships to increase content production in Saudi Arabia. This builds on the growing success of the sector in the Kingdom, as investment into infrastructure and upskilling of talent positions NEOM as a world-class production hub. SRMG’s existing and new partners will benefit from the collaboration between both brands, including access to world-class production facilities.

Beyond production, SRMG and NEOM Media Industries will work together to design joint talent development and industry training programs to continue to uplift the breadth and depth of the media talent pool within the region – including journalism, script writing and production. These programs will build on the successful collaboration between NEOM and SRMG Academy in November last year - the “Stories to Tell” journalism bootcamp – which trained and upskilled young Saudi journalism graduates and media professionals and resulted in 22 interns being hired by SRMG.

Nadhmi Al-Nasr, Chief Executive Officer of NEOM, said: “NEOM aims to be an accelerator of human progress – innovating across multiple industries and sectors to redefine business. NEOM Media Industries is one such example. Our mission is to create a new world-class media hub at NEOM, one that focuses on providing for screen production, gaming and digital publishing.  This partnership with SRMG complements and accelerates NEOM’s commitment to creating a regional center to establish NEOM amongst the elite global media hubs.”

Commenting on the signing, Jomana R. Al-Rashid, Chief Executive Officer of SRMG, added: “This partnership represents an important moment for the media ecosystem in the MENA region. Working together, NEOM and SRMG will increase capability and capacity of localized production; accelerate media technology; and create new revenue streams for the industry. Through empowering local content creators, we will ensure that home-grown talent is nurtured and that regional stories are told on a world stage. There is extraordinary untapped creativity in the MENA region, and we are delighted to have created this opportunity to champion it”

Additional aspects of the MoU include media technology development, co-organizing events at NEOM, and SRMG exploring establishing an early presence at NEOM in the long run.


Jewish BBC staff defy rules to attend antisemitism march

Jewish BBC staff defy rules to attend antisemitism march
Updated 28 November 2023
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Jewish BBC staff defy rules to attend antisemitism march

Jewish BBC staff defy rules to attend antisemitism march
  • The employees, who work in current affairs and journalism, say their Jewish identity ‘took precedence over what the BBC thinks’
  • BBC rules on impartiality state editorial staff ‘should not participate in public demonstrations or gatherings about controversial issues’

LONDON: A number of Jewish employees of the BBC joined a march in London on Sunday in protest against antisemitism, in contravention of the broadcaster’s policy.

Staff members attended the event, organized by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, despite being reminded of BBC rules on impartiality that state editorial staff “should not participate in public demonstrations or gatherings about controversial issues.” Employees who want to participate in pro-Palestine marches are believed to have been given similar reminders.

The Jewish employees, who reportedly work in current affairs and journalism departments, told Times Radio that being Jewish “took precedence over what the BBC thinks.”

One person, who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity, said: “I learned last week that the BBC was barring members of staff from attending the planned march against antisemitism — and let’s face it, we’re really talking about Jewish members of staff here, because they’re the only ones who would really be wanting to go — so the BBC knew exactly who it was stopping.”

Although the BBC describes the rules as guidance, non-compliance can result in disciplinary action, the employee added.

“We understood the BBC’s rationale that staff risk creating a perception of bias by attending marches which are political or controversial but this was not a march about Brexit or the NHS, but a march against antisemitism and there is nothing controversial or political about that,” the worker said.

“Antisemitism has soared in Britain since the Hamas attacks and the start of the war on Oct. 7, and as Jews we are all-too-well aware. Whether or not we have experienced it directly, our families and communities are affected by it daily and it is on our minds, whether we are at home or at work.

“Personally, I was unwilling to comply as I felt my attendance, as a Jewish person, took precedence over what the BBC thinks and I went to the march. I know several other Jewish staff did too and I am sure there were more who I don’t know about. The march was dignified and civilized and did nothing other than demonstrate an utter rejection of antisemitism by not just Jews but other communities and faiths who also attended to show their support.”

The employee added that the BBC had shown “insensitivity towards us which is going to be hard to repair.”

Staff compared the current situation with the BBC’s stance on the Pride parades in 2020, when Director General Tim Davie granted all staff the go ahead to participate.

A spokesperson for the broadcaster said: “The BBC is clear that antisemitism is abhorrent. We have established guidance around marches, which explains that different considerations apply depending on what you do for the BBC.

“Corporately, we have not issued any staff communication on any specific march this weekend but this does not mean discussions which consider the guidance have not taken place between colleagues.”


Fast Company Middle East issues list of Most Innovative Companies

Fast Company Middle East issues list of Most Innovative Companies
Updated 27 November 2023
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Fast Company Middle East issues list of Most Innovative Companies

Fast Company Middle East issues list of Most Innovative Companies
  • Second edition features 42 reputations across 23 sectors

DUBAI: Business news magazine Fast Company, which launched its Middle East edition last year, has unveiled this year’s list of the region’s Most Innovative Companies.

The list recognizes 42 companies across 23 sectors, which include e-commerce, retail, consumer goods and media.

Ravi Raman, publisher of Fast Company Middle East, told Arab News: “The Most Innovative Companies list not only sends a positive signal to teams and stakeholders but also resonates globally, showcasing how companies in the Middle East are pushing the boundaries of innovation.

“I am truly impressed by the profound impact each honoree is making in their respective industries, which reaffirms our belief in the human spirit to imagine, create, and improve.”

Three companies were recognized in the media category: Al Arabiya News Channel for advancing technology in news delivery; Kapturise for being a one-stop solution for content creation; and Telfaz11 for extending creative and cultural influence beyond Saudi Arabia.

In the advertising, branding and PR category, five companies were chosen, with three of the five spots being bagged by advertising network Publicis Groupe Middle East and its agencies Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi.

The list also featured media intelligence provider Carma for delivering tailor-made content, and banking firm Mashreq for its innovative campaigns.

Advertising agency TBWA\RAAD was recognized in the workplaces category for creating shared goals through dynamic and flexible policies.

OSN was the only company to be featured in the entertainment category due to its inclusive content strategy.

Other companies in this year’s list include multinationals like L’Oreal Middle East and PepsiCo Middle East, as well as local entities like Masdar City and e&.


Media Oasis opens in Paris to support Riyadh’s bid to stage World Expo 2030

Media Oasis opens in Paris to support Riyadh’s bid to stage World Expo 2030
Updated 27 November 2023
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Media Oasis opens in Paris to support Riyadh’s bid to stage World Expo 2030

Media Oasis opens in Paris to support Riyadh’s bid to stage World Expo 2030
  • Event hosted by Kingdom’s Ministry of Media
  • Showcases best of Saudi cultural, development projects

RIYADH: The Saudi Media Ministry is hosting the second Media Oasis event in Paris, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The event, which opened on Sunday and runs through Tuesday, is being held alongside a meeting to select the host city for World Expo 2030, for which Riyadh is in the running.

Media Oasis was launched by the Media Ministry to showcase the best of Saudi cultural and development projects and initiatives to visitors from around the world.

Covering 1,200 square meters within the Pavilion at Place Vendome, it comprises exhibitions and interactive displays, hospitality and networking spaces, and “Saudi Treasures” and “Riyadh 2030” areas.

It also provides media support to international news outlets taking part in the Expo meeting.

The ministry collaborated with numerous partners on the event, including the Saudi Tourism Authority, Ministry of Sports, the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, the Asir Region Development Authority, NEOM, Diriyah, the King Salman Park Project, Sports Boulevard, the Green Riyadh initiative, Riyadh Art, New Square Co., the Royal Institute of Traditional Arts and the Saudi Konoz initiative.


BBC slammed for mistranslating Arabic interview of released Palestinian prisoner

BBC slammed for mistranslating Arabic interview of released Palestinian prisoner
Updated 27 November 2023
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BBC slammed for mistranslating Arabic interview of released Palestinian prisoner

BBC slammed for mistranslating Arabic interview of released Palestinian prisoner
  • The mistranslation has sparked significant backlash on social media since the interview was aired

LONDON: The BBC has come under fire for mistranslating the words of a Palestinian prisoner following the her exchange as part of a hostage release deal between Isreal and Hamas on Friday.

Respond Crisis Translation stated that the former detainee criticized her Israeli captors in her initial statement, condemning them for their inhumane treatment of prisoners.

“They imprisoned us for a month. As winter came, they cut off the electricity. We almost died from the cold weather,” was translated to English subtitles as “and no one helped us. Only Hamas cared. Those who felt our suffering, I thank them very much.”

The former detainee proceeded to mention, “they (the Israelis) sprayed us with pepper spray and left us to die inside the prison,” but the English subtitles were interpreted as “and we love them very much,” potentially implying that her emotions were aimed at Hamas.

“The shortened video clip we posted included English subtitles, but due to an editing error did not include the full comments themselves. We have since uploaded the original video clip, so that it includes the full comments with corresponding translation, and added a note of clarification,” a BBC spokesperson told Arab News.

The incorrect translation caused uproar online, exacerbated by the fact the BBC has an Arabic language service.

“She never mentioned Hamas or a word like it,” Respond Crisis Translation posted on X.

“This egregious mistranslation is not just a language error; it is a racist fabrication that fans the flames of the war. Mistranslations such as these —intentional or not — are exacerbating the ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.”

Social media users also took to Meta and X to slam the BBC for falsifying what was said in the interview, with one Instagram user stating: “This is the BBC literally inciting violence this is horrific,” and many other users stating: “Shame on you @bbc.”

The BBC has temporarily removed the video of the interview due to “an error in the editing process.”

Arab News contacted the BBC for comment.


Court document claims Meta knowingly designed its platforms to hook kids, reports say

Court document claims Meta knowingly designed its platforms to hook kids, reports say
Updated 27 November 2023
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Court document claims Meta knowingly designed its platforms to hook kids, reports say

Court document claims Meta knowingly designed its platforms to hook kids, reports say
  • One Facebook safety executive alluded to the possibility that cracking down on younger users might hurt the company’s business in a 2019 email, according a report

SAN FRANCISO: Facebook parent Meta Platforms deliberately engineered its social platforms to hook kids and knew — but never disclosed — that it had received millions of complaints about underage users on Instagram but only disabled a fraction of those accounts, according to a newly unsealed legal complaint described in reports from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
The complaint, originally made public in redacted form, was the opening salvo in a lawsuit filed in late October by the attorneys general of 33 states.
According to the reports, Meta said in a statement that the complaint misrepresents its work over the past decade to make the online experience safe for teens and said it doesn’t design its products to be addictive to younger users. Meta didn’t immediately provide a comment on the unredacted complaint following a request from The Associated Press.
Company documents cited in the complaint described several Meta officials acknowledging that the company designed its products to exploit shortcomings in youthful psychology such as impulsive behavior, susceptibility to peer pressure and the underestimation of risks, according to the reports. Others acknowledged that Facebook and Instagram were also popular with children under age 13, who, per company policy, were not allowed to use the service.
One Facebook safety executive alluded to the possibility that cracking down on younger users might hurt the company’s business in a 2019 email, according to the Journal report. But a year later the same executive expressed frustration that while Facebook readily studied the usage of underage users for business reasons, it didn’t show the same enthusiasm for ways to identify younger kids and remove them from its platforms.
The complaint noted that at times Meta has a backlog of up to 2.5 million accounts of younger children awaiting action, according to the reports.