DCO issues white paper to combat online misinformation

Special DCO issues white paper to combat online misinformation
Secretary-General Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) Deemah AlYahya. (SPA)
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Updated 27 November 2023
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DCO issues white paper to combat online misinformation

DCO issues white paper to combat online misinformation
  • Social media platforms and the impact on young people highlighted as particular issues
  • Muhammad Khurram Khan: To eradicate misinformation, there is a need for sharing and checking standards to be adopted by social media platforms

RIYADH: The global multilateral Digital Cooperation Organization has issued a white paper highlighting misinformation and disinformation on the internet and social networks and the ways to combat it in the digital economy.

The paper, “From social media to truth: Countering misinformation for a thriving digital economy,” highlights misinformation and its impact on the digital economy, in addition to a comprehensive analysis of and proposals to enhance the spread of verifiable information.

It also sheds light on the role of social media networks in spreading misinformation, and the challenges faced by society, including decision-makers, managers of social media platforms, media professionals, and others, in combating it.

“Our latest whitepaper offers comprehensive analysis and practical solutions to tackling this critical issue,” said the DCO in a statement.

Founded in November 2020, the DCO enables digital prosperity by accelerating the inclusive growth of the digital economy.

The spread of false information on social media platforms represents a major challenge that can lead to a loss of trust in them and hinder the adoption of digital technologies.

The white paper discusses the impact of misinformation on young people. In order to address it, awareness and education must be enhanced with research, verification, and distinction skills between reliable and unreliable sources, it says.

It also discusses digital tools for verifying information, their limitations, and the possibility of participating in designing modern digital tools for verifying information and facts to address this challenge.

Muhammad Khurram Khan, professor of cybersecurity at King Saud University, Riyadh, who did policy work for the G20 presidency on the topic in 2021, told Arab News: “As social media and digital connectivity facilitate the rapid dissemination of information, identifying authentic content from misleading or false information has become increasingly difficult. The challenge of countering misinformation or deepfake in the modern digital landscape has become a complex and multifaceted endeavor.

“Across a wide range of sectors, misinformation contributes to the pervasiveness of public opinion and impacts decision-making processes. A significant challenge presented by fake news, misinformation, and disinformation across various online platforms requires comprehensive strategies to combat its spread,” he said.

“To eradicate misinformation, there is a need for sharing and checking standards to be adopted by social media platforms,” he added.

Furthermore, Khan says, media literacy is imperative to curb the influence of fake news, and governments, platforms, civil society and the general public should work together to ensure that information sharing is truthful and accurate in order to combat misinformation.

The DCO brings together the ministries of communications and IT of 15 member nations — Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Djibouti, Gambia, Ghana, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, and Saudi Arabia — and focuses on empowering young people and entrepreneurs, benefiting from the accelerating power of the digital economy, and keeping pace with innovation to drive economic growth and increase social prosperity.


Founding Day is a day for Saudis to celebrate their roots, says expert on Diriyah’s heritage and culture

Founding Day is a day for Saudis to celebrate their roots, says expert on Diriyah’s heritage and culture
Updated 22 February 2024
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Founding Day is a day for Saudis to celebrate their roots, says expert on Diriyah’s heritage and culture

Founding Day is a day for Saudis to celebrate their roots, says expert on Diriyah’s heritage and culture
  • ‘We celebrate the long journey of a great nation,’ says Zean Alshirian, senior officer for cultural and historical validation at Diriyah Gate Development Authority
  • Founding Day, on Feb. 22, marks the establishment of the First Saudi State in 1727, while National Day, on Sept. 23, marks the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932

RIYADH: Saudis across the Kingdom will celebrate their lineage, heritage and national identity on Feb. 22 at events marking the third annual Founding Day, which commemorates the establishment of the First Saudi State by Imam Mohammed bin Saud almost 300 years ago.

“We’re celebrating rich and deep history … as Saudis, we celebrate the long journey of a great nation,” Zean Alshirian, senior officer for cultural and historical validation at Diriyah Gate Development Authority, told Arab News.

Founding Day, which was established as a national holiday by royal decree in 2022, is a celebration of Saudi identity, she said, a day that connects the nation’s people to their roots and heritage. As such, it honors the first step on a path that led to the modern-day Kingdom, she added.

The First Saudi State, or the Emirate of Diriyah, was founded in 1727 by Imam Mohammed. Known for his bravery, leadership skills and generosity, he brought security and stability to Diriyah and under his leadership it flourished, becoming a hub for culture, commerce and education.

“The first treasury of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was here in Diriyah, in At-Turaif, (which is now) a UNESCO World Heritage Site,” said Alshirian. “This treasury was built to allocate (resources to meet) the needs of the people here. And that speaks to the peak of where the First Saudi State actually reached.”

The First Saudi State, its development, which was advanced for the time, and its cultural, economic and humanitarian initiatives helped to shape embryonic beginnings of what would become the modern Kingdom we know today. Founding Day therefore gives Saudis a chance to remember the origins of their nation, its people and their traditions, and to celebrate this connection between past and present.

“We, as the people of the Kingdom, are ever so connected to our predecessors, we’re ever so connected to our ancestry,” Alshirian said. “So beginning to understand that our traditions, our cultures, date back to 300, 400 years ago, we can then understand how rich they are.”

To fully understand the groundbreaking nature of Imam Mohammed’s historic achievements, one must be aware of the broader history of the Arabian Peninsula, Alshirian said. Prior to the founding of the First Saudi State, city-states were common but nation-states were not.

“When he (Imam Mohammed) founded the First Saudi State … this was a huge step forward. This was a momentous moment in history, something that signifies his character,” Alshirian said.

He founded the state at the heart of of the Arabian peninsula, in Al-Yamamah region, and by doing so enhanced local security, unity, education and culture, she added.

“So this huge step forward is something visionary from Imam Mohammed bin Saud,” Alshirian said.

The cultural history of the First Saudi State is revealed by the manuscripts of the time.

“We can understand it through their handwriting and the colors that they use. They were connected to their environment,” Alshirian said.

Some people might be confused about the difference between Saudi Arabia’s National Day and its Founding Day, which mark two pivotal, but distinct, events in the history of the Kingdom.

“National Day is Sept. 23, when we celebrate the unification of the (modern day) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Alshirian said.

“But when we talk about Founding Day, we are talking about the founding of the First Saudi State about 300 years ago.”

If we consider the timeline of the evolution of the nation, the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932 was in a sense the final step on the path, while the founding of the First Saudi State in 1727 was the start.

“When we understand that, we understand the domino effect, the butterfly effect of how this great journey started. So we’re celebrating the beginning of a journey, in a sense,” Alshirian said.

“But the after is as important as the first, and vice versa.”

Alshirian added that it is her hope that Founding Day helps the Saudi people to better understand and celebrate their national roots and history.


KSrelief, UN officials meet to discuss aid cooperation

KSrelief, UN officials meet to discuss aid cooperation
Updated 22 February 2024
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KSrelief, UN officials meet to discuss aid cooperation

KSrelief, UN officials meet to discuss aid cooperation

RIYADH: Officials from Saudi Arabia’s aid agency and the UN met in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss ways to improve aid delivery across the world.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, royal court advisor and supervisor-general of KSrelief, met with Mohamed El-Zarkani, the UN’s resident coordinator in Saudi Arabia.

El-Zarkani praised Saudi Arabia for assisting the UN’s various humanitarian and aid agencies.


KSrelief distributes 950 food parcels to displaced people in Khartoum

KSrelief distributes 950 food parcels to displaced people in Khartoum
The assistance forms part of the humanitarian and relief projects it provides in Sudan. (SPA)
Updated 22 February 2024
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KSrelief distributes 950 food parcels to displaced people in Khartoum

KSrelief distributes 950 food parcels to displaced people in Khartoum

KHARTOUM STATE: Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributed 950 food parcels in Sudan’s Khartoum State, benefiting 7,566 displaced people as part of the project to support food security in the country.
The assistance forms part of the humanitarian and relief projects Saudi Arabia provides through its humanitarian arm in Sudan to alleviate the suffering of people displaced by the war.


KSrelief to provide equipment to Sudan children’s hospitals

KSrelief to provide equipment to Sudan children’s hospitals
The agreement aims to reduce mortality rates. (SPA)
Updated 22 February 2024
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KSrelief to provide equipment to Sudan children’s hospitals

KSrelief to provide equipment to Sudan children’s hospitals

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s aid agency KSrelief signed a cooperation agreement on Wednesday with the Patients Helping Fund Organization in Sudan to provide essential medical equipment to the country’s children’s hospitals.

Ahmed Al-Baiz, KSrelief’s assistant supervisor-general of operations and programs, and Kamal Yaqoub Mohamed, director-general of the fund, signed the agreement in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The aim is to reduce mortality rates in the Kassala and El-Obeid hospitals.

The new equipment will directly benefit 100,000 individuals and another 100,000 indirect beneficiaries.

The agreement is part of the Kingdom’s ongoing efforts, led by KSrelief, to support Sudan’s health sector.


Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers discuss bilateral ties

Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers discuss bilateral ties
Updated 22 February 2024
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Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers discuss bilateral ties

Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers discuss bilateral ties

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, held talks on Wednesday on the sidelines of a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Rio de Janeiro.

They discussed the relationship between their countries and ways in which it might be enhanced in various fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported. They also reviewed the latest regional and international developments, particularly those relating to Israel’s war on Gaza.

The Saudi ambassador to Brazil, Faisal Ghulam, and the assistant director general of the foreign minister’s office, Walid Al-Smail, were also present at the meeting.