Saudi minister presents new media strategy, designates 2024 ‘Year of Media Transformation’

The third edition of the Saudi Media Forum, themed “Media in a World Taking Shape,” commenced on Tuesday, hosted by the Saudi Broadcasting Corporation and the Saudi Journalists Association. (X/File)
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Updated 21 February 2024

Saudi minister presents new media strategy, designates 2024 ‘Year of Media Transformation’

  • Salman Al-Dosari spoke at the inaugural day of the Saudi Media Forum
  • New vision will boost sector efficiency, investment appeal and workforce abilities
  • In 2023 the media sector contributed $3.9 billion to Kingdom’s economy, created 56,000 jobs

LONDON: Saudi Media Minister Salman Al-Dosari has presented the Kingdom’s new media strategy, marking 2024 as the “Year of Media Transformation.”

Addressing the inaugural session of the Saudi Media Forum in Riyadh on Tuesday, Al-Dosari outlined the vision for the forthcoming year, celebrating the sector’s profound impact on the nation’s economy.

He underscored that in 2023 alone, the media industry contributed a substantial SR14.5 billion ($3.9 billion) to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product, and facilitated the creation of 56,000 job opportunities.

Looking ahead, Al-Dosari emphasized the government’s commitment to further growth and development, aiming to elevate the sector’s contribution to $4.3 billion in 2024.

This aspiration aligns with plans to expand the workforce to 67,000 jobs, recognizing the pivotal role of media in economic and societal progress.

Al-Dosari elaborated on the strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing the sector’s efficiency, boosting investment appeal, and strengthening national workforce capabilities, paving the way for the future of media.

These initiatives include a comprehensive media sector strategy, a Saudi Broadcasting Authority strategy to foster growth and competitiveness, and efforts to develop media talent to produce content that enhances Saudi Arabia’s global image.

In addition, Al-Dosari announced the launch of the Hajj MediaHub initiative, facilitating media coverage of the Hajj season through a dynamic media community and interactive media exhibition, benefiting over 2,000 international media professionals and visitors.

The third edition of the Saudi Media Forum, themed “Media in a World Taking Shape,” commenced on Tuesday, hosted by the Saudi Broadcasting Corporation and the Saudi Journalists Association.

With the participation of 2,000 media professionals, academics, experts, and specialists from both local and international arenas, the two-day event serves as a platform for robust discourse and collaboration within the industry, engaging with 80 media outlets.

Saudi Press Agency honored at Arab Media Excellence Awards

Updated 30 May 2024

Saudi Press Agency honored at Arab Media Excellence Awards

DUBAI: The Saudi Press Agency was honored on Wednesday at the 8th Arab Media Excellence Awards in the Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Media section of the digital media category.

The agency’s winning entry was an investigative report titled “King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center works to deliver aid to Gaza Strip within three priorities: food, shelter, and health.”

Fahd Al-Aqran, the president of the SPA, accepted the trophy during an awards ceremony on the sidelines of the 54th session of the Council of Arab Information Ministers in Manama.

Organizers said they received more than 100 entries for this year’s awards across television, radio, newspaper and digital media, the SPA reported.

The awards were introduced in 2015 by the Council of Arab Information Ministers to encourage creativity, innovation and media excellence among government and accredited media institutions, Arab organizations, federations with observer status within the Arab League, and media personalities.

MBC Group to launch Arabic adaptation of ‘The Good Wife’

Updated 29 May 2024

MBC Group to launch Arabic adaptation of ‘The Good Wife’

  • ‘Moftaraq Toroq’ is produced by Charisma Group, will air on Sunday
  • Show aims to ‘set a new standard for Egyptian long-form series,’ MBC says

DUBAI: MBC Group has announced the launch of Egyptian TV series “Moftaraq Toroq,” an Arabic-language adaptation of the legal drama “The Good Wife.”

Licensed by Paramount Global Content Distribution and produced by Charisma Group, the show is set to premiere on MBC’s streaming platform Shahid on Sunday.

Written by Sherif Badreddine and Wael Hamdy and directed by Ahmad Khaled Moussa and Mohamad Yehya, the drama stars Hend Sabri, Eyad Nassar, Majed Al-Masri, Joumana Murad and Noha Abdeen.

It aims to “set a new standard for Egyptian long-form series” and “marks a significant milestone in the evolution of Arab television,” said Tareq Al-Ibrahim, director of MBC1, MBC Drama and SVOD content at MBC.

“Moftaraq Toroq” tells the story of Amira, a wife and mother whose life takes a sudden turn when her husband gets caught up in a public scandal.

“In the landscape of Egyptian TV series, ‘Moftaraq Toroq’ stands as a departure from the conventional,” said Aiman Al-Ziyoud, CEO and president of Charisma Group.

“While audiences may be familiar with the trials of soapy series, mainly Turkish adaptations to Arabic, ‘Moftaraq Toroq’ introduces a novel genre altogether.”

MBC said the show had been adapted to reflect cultural nuances.

“It is incredible to see how the storyline and these characters in the adaptation have been transformed to fit into the local landscape and culture so effortlessly,” said Roxanne Pompa, vice president of international formats at Paramount Global Content Distribution.

“The Good Wife” is produced by CBS Studios in association with Scott Free Productions and King Size Productions. Charisma Group acquired the format rights for the adaptation from Paramount Global Content Distribution.

London’s Evening Standard to move to weekly print edition

Updated 29 May 2024

London’s Evening Standard to move to weekly print edition

  • British freesheet said move is needed to secure title’s long-term future

LONDON: London’s Evening Standard newspaper on Wednesday announced plans to shift from its daily print edition to a weekly format.

The outlet said the decision was driven by several factors, including the introduction of Wi-Fi on the London Underground, fewer commuters due to the increase on the number of people working remotely, and changing reader habits.

“The substantial losses accruing from the current operations are not sustainable. Therefore, we plan to consult with our staff and external stakeholders to reshape the business, return to profitability and secure the long-term future of the No.1 news brand in London,” Paul Kanareck, the newspaper’s chair, told staff on Wednesday morning.

He said the company planned to launch “a brand new weekly newspaper later this year and consider options for retaining ES Magazine — the company’s weekly magazine — with reduced frequency.”

Kanareck emphasized a strategic shift toward enhancing the newspaper’s digital presence, which currently averages 12 million monthly visitors.

The Evening Standard, owned by Russian-British businessman and co-owner of The Independent, Evgeny Lebedev, has accumulated millions of pounds in debt over the past few years.

The memo also indicated that the plans and their impact on staff levels would be subject to consultation, raising concerns about potential job losses.

Founded in 1827, the Standard was bought by Lebedev in 2009 for just £1 ($0.80).

Since then, the London newspaper transitioned to a freesheet format, with average distribution dropping from nearly 900,000 copies 10 years ago to 270,000 today.

The new proposed weekly Evening Standard, Kanareck said, will feature “more in-depth analysis of the issues that matter to Londoners, and serve them in a new and relevant way by celebrating the best London has to offer.”

These changes, he said, will “reinforce the relationship between our 24/7 digital platforms and our weekly publication.”

Trump’s Arab-American supporters to launch committee, advert undermining Biden

Updated 29 May 2024

Trump’s Arab-American supporters to launch committee, advert undermining Biden

  • Arab News gets exclusive look at #YallaTrump2024 campaign
  • Graphic video targets Biden’s support of Israel’s war on Gaza

Chicago, US: Arab Americans who support Donald Trump’s reelection have set up a new political action committee to strengthen public “understanding” of why he is a better choice than President Joe Biden, and will broadcast a video advertisement claiming the latter has betrayed the community, Arab News has learned exclusively.

The new body, named Arab Americans for a Better America or ABE-PAC, was formed this week following a series of meetings Trump supporters held with community leaders in several cities.

The first meeting was held in Troy, Michigan on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, featuring several speakers including Massad Boulos and his son Michael who is married to Trump’s daughter, Tiffany.

It was co-organized by Bishara Bahbah, the national chairperson of Arab Americans for Trump, an independent organization that is separate from the official Trump campaign. A keynote speaker at the meetings is Trump’s former director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell.

“A new Republican Arab-American political action committee has been formed to support conservative causes and Trump’s reelection,” said Oubai Shahbandar who is coordinating the cross-country meetings between the former president’s supporters and Arab voters.

“It’s called ABE-PAC and we will announce it later this week with a hard-hitting, inaugural video ad that we will be distributing throughout the Arab-American community.”

The new advertisement slams Biden for his “broken promises” and includes an array of images that is meant to depict his support and funding of Israel’s military assault on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

It features Biden saying: “Who cares about the Arab population.” The two-minute video has graphic images of the carnage in Gaza including the recent bombing of a refugee camp in Rafah that killed many Palestinian women and children.

The advertisement also features references to the growing #AbandonBiden movement which has urged Arab and Muslim voters to reject the US president in key Democratic primary elections and “swing states” where he barely defeated Trump in the 2020 election.

Arab News was given an exclusive look at the campaign video which is built on the slogan #YallaTrump2024 and funded by Republican and conservative Arab Americans from across the US.

Biden and Trump, who won their party election primaries in July and August respectively, will likely face-off in the Nov. 5 presidential election.

Voters have expressed skepticism about both candidates, with many Americans saying they are not enthusiastic about their choices.

An IPSOS survey in May revealed that the main issue landscape remains mixed, but any future developments in the war in Gaza are expected to push the needle one way or another.

UAE’s Anwar Gargash urges peaceful resolution amid ‘monstrous’ Gaza violence

Updated 29 May 2024

UAE’s Anwar Gargash urges peaceful resolution amid ‘monstrous’ Gaza violence

  • Advisor to the UAE president says Arab peace initiative underway
  • Israel’s ‘criminal government’ does not reflect ‘values’ of Judaism

DUBAI: Dr. Anwar Gargash, diplomatic advisor to the UAE president, says the violence in Gaza has reached “monstrous levels” and called on the international community to find a peaceful solution to the carnage.

Speaking on the final day of the Arab Media Forum in Dubai on Wednesday, Gargash expressed shock at the scale of the violence in Gaza.

“The targeting of innocents have taken on monstrous levels. We have witnessed wars in Palestine before but never at such a level of monstrosity,” he said. “The region cannot sustain further escalations.”

Gargash reaffirmed that neighboring Arab countries support the Palestinian cause.

“We believe in the cause, our conscience simply will not permit us to abandon our support to Palestine especially in light of the ugliness we see today coming out of Gaza and most recently from Rafah.

“The current right-wing, criminal government in Israel does not equate (to) Jewish values.”

Gargash highlighted the UAE’s continued support for Gaza and said the displacement of Palestinians from “spot to spot” must end.

“Israel is undermining itself with its current policies and actions. We support the establishment of the Palestinian state. We need a clear roadmap to guarantee its independent establishment. If both sides wish to live in peace this is the only way to go.”

He mentioned an ongoing Arab initiative aimed at fostering peace, warning that states must take control of the situation to prevent further chaos.

“While the global conscience has been awakened, we cannot wait for the world,” he noted. “Active steps and initiatives must be taken now or else this will remain a pipe dream.”

Participating in a panel discussion, the Emirati diplomat also accused the international community of double standards.

“Look at the difference of approach between Ukraine and Palestine. Mind you, both are still going through war. The old approaches must go, the current system is not working anymore to solve anything. We need to find new ways and cooperation for a better outcome.”

He urged Arab states to unite and collaborate beyond politics, and added that the UAE was committed to expanding regional ties and mending relations with Iran.

“For the past 12 to 15 years with all the events that happened in the Arab world, we saw it give way to radical ideologies, rise of militias, vacuum powers filled in with outside influences, and ideologies that sprung about opposing healthy nationalism.

“We continue to deal with these problems. We need a better cooperation between Arab states, a willingness to change old, sick module, for the collective betterment of the region.”