Nigeria government will lift Twitter ban soon

The block shocked Nigeria’s hyper-connected youth in a country where 40 million people have a Twitter account. (File/AFP)
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Updated 12 August 2021

Nigeria government will lift Twitter ban soon

  • Nigeria will lift the ban on Twitter soon after making progress in negotiations to end its differences with the social media giant
  • The ban in June came days after Twitter deleted a remark from President Muhammadu Buhari’s account, provoking an international outcry over freedom of expression

ABUJA: Nigeria will lift its ban on Twitter soon after advancing in negotiations to end its differences with the social media giant, the government said on Wednesday.
The ban in June came days after Twitter deleted a remark from President Muhammadu Buhari’s account, provoking an international outcry over freedom of expression.
Nigerian officials defended the suspension saying Twitter was used to promote destabilising activities, especially by separatist agitators in the southeast.
“The ban on Twitter will soon be lifted as we are getting close to reaching full agreement,” Information Minister Lai Mohammed told reporters in Abuja.
“We have agreed on some areas, hopefully in the next few days or weeks we will conclude.”
US-based Twitter said on Wednesday it recently met with the Nigerian government to discuss the ban and how to resolve the matter.
“Our aim is to chart a path forward to the restoration of Twitter for everyone in Nigeria,” it said in a statement.
“We look forward to ongoing discussions with the Nigerian government and seeing the service restored very soon.”
The minister said the conditions discussed included Twitter registrating locally and designating a local representative as well as paying taxes under Nigerian law.
“I just want to assure you that we have made tremendous progress,” he said. “Really, apart from dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s, we’re actually almost there.”

The UN, EU, US and Britain were among the foreign governments that joined rights groups to condemn the ban as damaging to freedom of expression in Africa’s most populous country.
The block shocked Nigeria’s hyper-connected youth in a country where 40 million people have a Twitter account or around 20 percent of the population, according to NOI polls, a local research organization.
Twitter has played a key role for activists in Nigeria, with the hashtags #BringBackOurGirls after Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in 2014, and #EndSARS during anti-police brutality protests last year.
The ban decision came just two days after the platform deleted a tweet from Buhari’s own account for violating its rules.
He had referenced Nigeria’s civil war five decades ago when one million people died, in the context of a warning to those behind recent unrest in the country’s southeast.
At the time, Nigeria complained Twitter had not deleted violent remarks made by Nmandi Kanu, whose outlawed IPOB group agitates for a separate state for the region’s ethnic Igbo people.
Kanu has since been arrested overseas and brought back to Nigeria where is facing trial.
Officials also made reference to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s support for the #EndSARS anti-police brutality protests.
Rights groups had questioned the legality of the decision as Nigeria’s parliament did not pass legislation regarding to the ministry’s move against Twitter.
Some Nigerian broadcasters were also concerned the move against Twitter was part of a more general crackdown on the media by Buhari’s government.

Arab News’ ‘Kingdom Vs Captagon’ deep dive wins gold medal at WAN-IFRA Middle East Awards 2023

Updated 15 sec ago

Arab News’ ‘Kingdom Vs Captagon’ deep dive wins gold medal at WAN-IFRA Middle East Awards 2023

  • 14-month investigative report wins Best Data Visualization category
  • “Saudi Animal Kingdom” clings second spot in the same category

LONDON: Arab News, the region’s leading English language daily, clinched two prestigious awards at the acclaimed 2023 WAN-IFRA Middle East Media Awards, highlighting its excellence in in-depth investigative journalism.

The publication seized the top honor in the Best Data Visualization category for its groundbreaking investigative feature, “The Kingdom Vs Captagon,” showcasing a 14-month research effort that delves into the pervasive drug crisis in the Arab region. This accomplishment emphasizes the team’s unwavering dedication to delivering compelling and informative content, despite the unprecedented competition in this year’s record-breaking event.

Commenting on the successes, Mohammed Sulami, Arab News Jeddah regional officer, remarked: “This award acknowledges one of the myriad accomplishments of the Arab News team, led by Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas.

“We take pride in this recognition and eagerly anticipate further successes at Arab News, striving to fulfill the aspirations of our valued readers.”

Jurors praised the investigation, noting it as a rare find: “It is very rare to find stories that are well-researched and presented in a friendly and engaging way. This story is one of them.”

This year’s competition witnessed a record-breaking number of entries, making it the most competitive season in WAN-IFRA Middle East history.

In addition to the triumph of “The Kingdom Vs Captagon,” the “Saudi Animal Kingdom” deep dive earned a silver medal, showcasing Arab News’ mastery in compelling storytelling and adept data presentation. This research delves into the intricate subject of the Arabian Peninsula’s delicate ecosystem, shedding light on how the leopard plays a pivotal role in initiatives aimed at conserving and regenerating Saudi Arabia’s landscapes and wildlife.

Omar Nashashibi, the head of the design team at Arab News, expressed pride in winning first and second place, describing it as a “fantastic achievement.”

He added: “Data visualisation and digital storytelling are a big part of what we do, and to have that effort recognised by our audience - especially when shedding light on important topics such as Saudi Arabia’s animal conservation efforts and their battle against Captagon - is a very proud moment for the team.

Since its global expansion and digital transformation plan in 2016, Arab News has consistently stood at the forefront of innovation, relaunching as a digital-first, 24/7 platform with an award-winning design. The publication has garnered numerous design and excellence awards, including the Digital Award of Excellence and the Print Award of Excellence at the 2022 Society for News Design.

Arab News has been recognized by international bodies such as the Indigo Design Awards, the Newspaper Design Competition, the Creative Communication Awards, and the European Newspaper Awards over the years.

With the gold and silver medals awarded for the two deep dives, the publication’s award count has now exceeded 100 — a testament to its continuous contribution to innovation in the regional media landscape.

The Kingdom vs Captagon
Inside Saudi Arabia's war against the drug destroying lives across the Arab world

Saudi Arabia to impose requirement for all media workers to register professionally

Updated 32 min 24 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to impose requirement for all media workers to register professionally

  • Mandate aims to focus on profession’s rights, document professional’s data, implement guidelines
  • All media professionals urged to complete registration by the first half of 2024

LONDON: The second stage of the “professional registration for media professionals” was initiated by the Saudi Media Regulatory Authority on Monday.

All individuals employed in the industry are now required to complete this registration process before the first half of 2024 concludes.

Minister of Information Salman Al-Dosari stated on X that the project’s aim was to preserve rights, regulate and protect the practice of the profession and the anticipated “continuous development, for the sake of a profession that we are betting on and on its practitioners.”

The Saudi Media Regulatory Authority highlighted several advantages that professional registration would offer, including priority access to specialized events, workshops and seminars. It also noted that the registration encompassed more than 50 different professions within the media industry.

To register, the candidate must be working in the sector or related fields, unless they can provide evidence of previous experience in the specific field they are applying for, and must also submit experience certificates from all their previous employers.

Omar Abu Bakr, regulatory affairs adviser at the authority, explained that this step aimed to inform practitioners of the profession and of the latest regulations and legislation.

In a statement to Al-Ekhbariya channel, Abu Bakr urged all media professionals to complete registration by the first half of 2024, emphasizing that practicing in these occupations beyond that timeframe without proper registration would be considered a punishable offense.

More than 5,500 media professionals have benefited from professional registration since the project was launched in 2020, during its first phase.

Similarly, in October 2022, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media introduced a new licensing system to monitor the influencer industry.

The regulatory framework requires that Saudi and non-Saudi content creators in the Kingdom who earn revenue through advertising on social media must apply for a three-year permit for a fee of SR15,000 (roughly $4,000).

GCAM said that the new legislation was required to guarantee greater transparency and better regulation of the industry and its professionals.

The Mayman Show wins best podcast at WAN-IFRA Middle East Awards 2023

Updated 05 December 2023

The Mayman Show wins best podcast at WAN-IFRA Middle East Awards 2023

  • ‘Personable and relatable’ show becomes first award-winning Arab News podcast

LONDON: The Mayman Show, the “personable podcast” by Arab News, has been honored as best podcast at this year’s WAN-IFRA Middle East Awards.

The show is known for its relatable conversations between the host and celebrity guests.

Hussam Al-Mayman, the host and producer, said: “I’m very proud to have The Mayman Show selected in the best podcast category. It has been a very interesting journey that has led me and the team here. We are navigating uncharted territory in terms of news content creation for the Middle East.”

Now in its fourth season, the program has featured an array of celebrities and prominent personalities from the Arab world and beyond, including Saudi Arabia’s first female Olympic sprinter Kariman Abuljadayel and hip-hop artist and actor Qusai Kheder.

Al-Mayman, a former professional in the Saudi communications and media industry and the youngest senior assignment producer for MBC News programs, said that the success of his program lay in building meaningful relationships with guests rather than striving to be the first or number one.

“I am proud to be focused on being the one and only Mayman Show and stay true to my authenticity and bring a personal piece, my guests and myself to every discussion,” he said.

“Thank you for the support, and what you see (or listen to) is what you get. What you haven’t seen is even better yet.”

This year’s WAN-IFRA Middle East Awards witnessed a record-breaking number of entries, marking it as the most competitive season in its history.

Since its digital transformation in 2016, Arab News has consistently led in innovation and expansion of its services. The publication’s transition to a digital-first, 24/7 platform with an award-winning design has garnered numerous design and excellence accolades, but the recognition for The Mayman Show marks a significant milestone as the first podcast award.

In 2023 alone, Arab News secured multiple visual storytelling awards in prestigious competitions, including the Society for News Design Awards, International Newspaper Design Competition, Indigo Awards, and European Newspaper Awards.

For more information about Arab News and its award-winning design, visit

CNN producer Ibrahim Dahman loses nine relatives in Israeli strike on Gaza

Updated 05 December 2023

CNN producer Ibrahim Dahman loses nine relatives in Israeli strike on Gaza

  • Ibrahim Dahman earlier escaped to Egypt with his family

DUBAI: CNN producer Ibrahim Dahman lost nine relatives in an Israeli air strike in northern Gaza, CNN reported.

Dahman had escaped to Egypt with his family, but on Sunday heard news that at least nine family members were killed when the building they were living in Beit Lahia took a direct hit by an Israeli strike.

His uncle, and the uncle’s wife, daughter and two grandchildren, as well as his aunt, her husband and two children perished, while at least two other relatives are in critical condition and others are still buried under the rubble.

Dahman’s childhood home in Gaza City was also destroyed in a separate strike on an adjacent building the same day, CNN reported.

“I will never be able to forget every stone and corner of the house in which I was born and raised and in which my children were born,” Dahman said in the CNN report.

“They were extremely peaceful and simple people, and their entire lives were devoted solely to work and raising their sons and daughters. They have no affiliation with any organization or group… Pray to God to have mercy on them all.”

Dahman’s brother had earlier called to tell him that his home in Gaza City, where he was born and grew up, has been reduced to ruins by the Israeli bombardment.

He had just finished renovating the apartment months before the Hamas attack, and told CNN he had fond memories living there, including celebrating his sons’ birthdays with cake and candles surrounded by family.

“Unfortunately, I left all my memories, my belongings, and the gifts that my bosses sent me at work in this house, all of which were lost under the rubble now.”

Israel’s military resumed combat operations against Hamas in Gaza last week after accusing Hamas of violating a seven-day temporary truce by firing toward Israeli territory.

The seven-day pause, which began on Nov. 24 and was extended twice, had allowed for the exchange of dozens of hostages held in Gaza for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and facilitated the entry of humanitarian aid into the shattered coastal strip.

Israel has sworn to annihilate the Palestinian militant group, which rules Gaza, in response to the Oct. 7 rampage when Hamas gunmen killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostages.

Haaretz exposes distortions of the truth by Israeli authorities about Hamas attacks

Updated 05 December 2023

Haaretz exposes distortions of the truth by Israeli authorities about Hamas attacks

  • Investigation by the Israeli newspaper finds exaggerations and lies in some reports of incidents on Oct. 7 and accuses high-ranking officials of spreading misinformation
  • Distorted and inaccurate narratives ‘provide ammunition for those who deny the massacre’ and raise concerns about credibility of information from official sources, it warns

LONDON: A report in an Israeli newspaper has accused authorities in the country of spreading misinformation about the Oct. 7 attacks.

During its investigation, Haaretz found that some narratives propagated by Israeli officials concerning the actions of Hamas contained “significant exaggerations.”

Those who promoted distorted narratives included senior military officials, politicians and civil society activists, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office and wife, along with several ministries and government departments, according to the report, which was published on Sunday.

“Politicians, IDF (Israel Defense Forces) officers, Zaka (community emergency response teams) volunteers and many activists on social networks have been describing horror stories committed by Hamas terrorists since Oct. 7,” it said.

“Most of the time, these are real testimonies supported by a lot of evidence but … there have also been stories and descriptions that are not true and which, among other things, provide ammunition to the deniers of the massacre.”

Journalists Nir Hasson and Lisa Rozobsky, the writers of the report, debunked several claims, including a notorious allegation that Israeli soldiers had discovered the bodies of dozens of beheaded children, a narrative that circulated widely on social media. They highlighted ways in which the story had evolved to include claims that children’s bodies had been burned or hanged.

The report said that such alleged narratives, along with graphic images, were even shared by an Israeli government official on social media and mentioned by Netanyahu in his conversation with US President Joe Biden.

Another debunked story involved the alleged kidnapping by Hamas of a pregnant woman, who was said to have given birth while in captivity. The incident was mentioned in a letter sent by Doron Neuberger, Netanyahu’s wife, to US First Lady Jill Biden. Subsequent social media posts revealed that the woman, Natthawaree Mulkan, was not pregnant.

During their investigation, Hasson and Rozobsky provided several other examples of stories that had been debunked or were otherwise incorrect, but which had gained international traction.

During a donor conference in the US, for example, Eli Beer, the founder and president of emergency medical services organization United Hatzalah, propagated a fabricated story about a child burned to death inside an oven. The unsubstantiated story was subsequently reported by British newspaper the Daily Mail.

The report concluded with a warning about the consequences of such exaggerated or inaccurate stories, which “provide ammunition for those who deny the massacre” and raise significant concerns about the credibility of information from official sources.