UN adopts first global artificial intelligence resolution

The resolution is the latest in a series of initiatives — few of which carry teeth — by governments around the world to shape AI’s development. (AFP/File)
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Updated 21 March 2024
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UN adopts first global artificial intelligence resolution

  • Resolution will focus on protecting personal data, monitoring AI for risks, and safeguarding human rights
  • Resolution is believed to be first-ever global consensus document on AI

LONDON: The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday unanimously adopted the first global resolution on artificial intelligence to encourage protecting personal data, monitoring AI for risks, and safeguarding human rights, US officials said.
The nonbinding resolution, proposed by the United States and co-sponsored by China and 121 other nations, took three months to negotiate and also advocates strengthening privacy policies, the officials said, briefing reporters before the resolution’s passage.
“We’re sailing in choppy waters with the fast-changing technology, which means that its more important than ever to steer by the light of our values,” said one of the senior administration officials, describing the resolution as the “first-ever truly global consensus document on AI.”
The resolution is the latest in a series of initiatives — few of which carry teeth — by governments around the world to shape AI’s development, amid fears it could be used to disrupt democratic processes, turbocharge fraud or lead to dramatic job losses, among other harms.
“The improper or malicious design, development, deployment and use of artificial intelligence systems ... pose risks that could ... undercut the protection, promotion and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the measure says.
Asked whether negotiators faced resistance from Russia or China — UN member states that also voted in favor of the document — the officials conceded there were “lots of heated conversations. ... But we actively engaged with China, Russia, Cuba, other countries that often don’t see eye to eye with us on issues.”
“We believe the resolution strikes the appropriate balance between furthering development, while continuing to protect human rights,” said one of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In November, the US, Britain and more than a dozen other countries unveiled the first detailed international agreement on how to keep artificial intelligence safe from rogue actors, pushing for companies to create AI systems that are “secure by design.”
Europe is ahead of the United States, with EU lawmakers adopting a provisional agreement this month to oversee the technology, moving closer to adopting the world’s first artificial intelligence rules. The Biden administration has been pressing lawmakers for AI regulation, but a polarized US Congress has made little headway.
The White House sought to reduce AI risks to consumers, workers, and minority groups while bolstering national security with a new executive order in October.
Like governments around the world, Chinese and Russian officials are eagerly exploring the use of AI tools for a variety of purposes. Last month, Microsoft said it had caught hackers from both countries using Microsoft-backed OpenAI software to hone their espionage skills.


Riyadh Season’s ad campaign wins Sports Emmy award

Updated 6 sec ago
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Riyadh Season’s ad campaign wins Sports Emmy award

  • “Battle of the Baddest: Rumble” has been recognized in the Outstanding Promotional Announcement category

LONDON: The Riyadh Season “Battle of the Baddest: Rumble” advertising campaign has scooped a Sports Emmy in the Outstanding Promotional Announcement category.

The 45th awards took place on Tuesday at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in New York City, US.

The promotional campaign, crafted by creative agencies Droga5 and Accenture Song, was created for last year’s boxing match between former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.

The event, which took place in October, was one of the highlights of Riyadh Season and garnered 12 awards from 32 nominations at international creative festivals.

The campaign was developed in collaboration with the General Entertainment Authority, Saudi Media Group, American sports channels ESPN and ESPN+, and production company Park Pictures.

Scott Bell, chief creative officer at Droga5 NY, described the project as “a labor of love.”

“It’s deeply gratifying to see it resonate so profoundly,” he said during the ceremony. “Our team at Droga5 and Accenture Song, along with our amazing partners, poured their hearts into creating something truly special.

“This win is a testament to the power of creative collaboration and the enduring appeal of storytelling in sports.”

He also thanked the team at Riyadh Season, SMG, and Turki Alalshikh, the chairman of the GEA, for their support.

Alalshikh’s Instagram account shared a link to the advert on YouTube and described the Sports Emmy achievement as “exceptional.”

The 90-second film is inspired by an old boxing saying, “Living rent-free in your opponent’s head,” which depicts the intense psychological and physical preparations by contenders before a fight.

The campaign’s creators and the GEA have won several other accolades, including from The One Show, the ADC Awards, The Clios, The Andys, the Shots Awards, and at Dubai Lynx, where they won three Grand Prix, two golds, five silvers and three bronzes. 


Telly Awards names Asharq Network the ‘Telly Company of the Year!’ for 2024

Updated 48 min 42 sec ago
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Telly Awards names Asharq Network the ‘Telly Company of the Year!’ for 2024

  • Asharq Network wins over 100 awards across gold, silver, and bronze categories

RIYADH/DUBAI: Asharq Network, the leading multi-platform Arabic news provider, has once again been recognized for its commitment to excellence, winning 117 awards, including 12 gold, 49 silver, and 56 bronze, at the prestigious ‘Telly Awards’. Notably, the network was named “Telly Company of the Year”.  

Established in 1979 in the United States, the ‘Telly Awards’ celebrate excellence across a wide range of categories, from traditional cable television commercials to cutting-edge digital content. Major international brands and companies such as CNN, Fox News, HBO, and Time Warner, also actively participate in these prestigious awards.  

The prominent awards recognize Asharq Network’s ingenuity in covering the biggest stories that go ‘Beyond the Frame’.

Since its launch in 2020, Asharq Network has established itself as a leading Arabic multi-platform, earning over 150 global and regional awards for its high-quality programming and content.

In 2023, Asharq Network significantly expanded and diversified its portfolio by adding new audio and video platforms to meet the evolving demands of Arabic-speaking audiences. This included the launch of Asharq QuickTake, Asharq Podcasts, Asharq Documentary, Radio Asharq with Bloomberg, and Asharq Discovery in partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery. This expansion has further solidified the network's position as the fastest-growing news platform on social media. 

Asharq Network competed against a record-breaking 13,000 entries from 5 continents.

In addition to being named the “Telly Company of the Year”, the network’s brands won several other prominent awards. Asharq Business with Bloomberg received a Gold, a Silver and three Bronze Awards in the Video Journalism category for the “Asharq Business with Bloomberg Tech+” show. The “Asharq News Conflict in Darfur Story” won three Silver Awards in the Explainers category, and its coverage of ‘COP 28’ earned two Silver Awards in the Show Opening Segment category.  

Asharq Documentary, Asharq Discovery and Asharq Podcasts also won prestigious ‘Telly Awards’. Moataz Aziaza’s documentary promo on Asharq Documentary and the idents on Asharq Discovery were both recognized for their excellence. Additionally, ‘Asharq Podcasts Launch Promo’ won multiple awards in the Promotional Video Editing category. 

Nabeel Alkhatib, General Manager of Asharq News, commented: “Being named the ‘Telly Company of the Year’ is a testament to the dedication and creativity of the entire Asharq Network team. This achievement reaffirms our commitment to delivering in-depth analysis and insightful perspectives on the stories, people and events shaping the world today. Our mission is to set a new industry standard by providing content that truly resonates with our diverse audience.”

Steven Cheak, Director of Creative & Branding Services at Asharq News, said: “Being recognized by the prestigious Telly Awards is a great honor for our team. And to be able to compete against such a distinguished lineup of network brands, advertising agencies, and production companies only serves to motivate us to go even further.”  

Cheak added: “This honor reflects our tireless efforts to push the boundaries, and ultimately create content that captivates, informs, and inspires audiences worldwide. I would like to congratulate the creative team, who works every day to enrich the way we provide content across all our platforms.”


Arab News takes home 18 Society for News Design awards

Updated 23 May 2024
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Arab News takes home 18 Society for News Design awards

  • Honors continue newspaper’s winning streak

LONDON: Arab News secured 18 awards at the prestigious 45th edition of the Society for News Design’s competition, continuing its streak of recent accolades.

Saudi Arabia’s first English-language daily won awards of excellence in several categories, including page design for “Spotlight regional year-end collection” and “Events that shook the Arab world.”

The newspaper also received awards for infographics such as “The Kingdom vs. landmines” and the business year-in-review page design for “Beating the global financial turbulence.”

Other awards were received for: “Diriyah E-Prix: New teams, new brand” page design; “New era of Saudi football kicks off” page design; “Hajj 2023: The fast track to Makkah” page design; “Hajj 2023: The step-by-step guide to Hajj” infographics; “A defense industry trailblazer” Spotlight page design; “Egypt feels shark attack’s bite” Spotlight page design; “The ice menace” Spotlight page design; “Opinion Year-End Collection” Opinion page design; “Onions’ tears and inflation fears” Spotlight page design; “Douglas Okasaki” portfolio award; “Saudi Arabia Founding Day 2023” front page design; “King Charles III coronation” front page; “Accession to the British throne” page design; and “Saudi National Day: Why Riyadh?” cover wrap design.

The last two also received Awards of Excellence at the sixth Newspaper Design competition earlier this month.

Omar Nashashibi, head of design at Arab News, said: “Having had the privilege of serving as a judge at SND’s 44th Annual Creative Competition, I’ve seen the exceptional quality of entries firsthand.

“Winning 18 awards, doubling our tally from last year’s competition, is a remarkable achievement for Arab News and our design team, who should be very proud. These awards wouldn’t be possible without their talent and dedication, the world-class illustrators we collaborated with for our Opinion Year-End Collection, and Editor-in-Chief Faisal Abbas’ support and unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of our coverage.”

Founded in the US in 1979, SND annually recognizes the best examples of visual journalism worldwide across graphic design, illustration, web design, and infographics.

This year’s competition included entries from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Reuters, South China Morning Post, and Bloomberg.

The total number of accolades now won by Arab News has reached 143 under the leadership of Abbas.

Past recognition encompasses a range of special projects, including multiple international awards for “Saudi’s animal kingdom,” “The Kingdom vs. Captagon” deep dive, and the “FIFA Qatar World Cup 2022” special edition.

For more information about Arab News and its award-winning projects, visit https://www.arabnews.com/greatesthits.


Video of Israeli soldier burning Qur’an sparks outrage

Updated 23 May 2024
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Video of Israeli soldier burning Qur’an sparks outrage

  • Israeli authorities launch investigation into incident

LONDON: A video of an Israeli soldier burning a Qur’an has emerged on social media, sparking a wave of criticism.

The video, shared by Israeli Army Radio on Thursday, shows the soldier standing in the ruins of a mosque in East Rafah, Gaza, throwing the Qur’an with its pages open into a fire.

According to Israeli broadcaster Kan, the soldier posted the footage on his personal Instagram account a few days ago.

The incident was condemned by Israeli authorities, who announced the launch of an investigation.

“The soldier’s behavior is not in line with the IDF’s values,” the Israeli army said in a statement.

“The IDF respects all religions and condemns such behavior. An IDF investigation has been opened regarding the incident.”

Palestinian writer and activist Adham Abu Selmiya criticized the act on social media, warning that similar actions have often gone unpunished.

“This is not an isolated incident. The Israeli army has destroyed and bombed over 200 mosques in Gaza in the ongoing genocide, with countless videos of soldiers bragging about these acts,” he said on X.

“This is not limited to Gaza! Settlers in the West Bank have burned Qur’ans in Hebron, facing no repercussions from the Israeli government.”

Another user criticized the conduct, expressing frustration over the lack of condemnation from the international community and Israel’s allies.

“This is the conduct and the morals of Israeli warfare that’s backed by the democratic West,” the post read.

Since the launch of the war on Gaza, Israeli soldiers have posted videos documenting acts of looting, burning, and destruction of homes, assaulting detainees and writing hate graffiti on the walls of houses.

The Israeli army has not announced measures against these soldiers, only stating that their actions “contravene the army’s values.”

In a similar incident in March, an Israeli soldier appeared to have posted a video of himself tearing apart a copy of the Qur’an in a mosque in Gaza.

Some experts have said that the desecration of religious and private places in Gaza is part of a policy of humiliation carried out by Israeli soldiers.


Russian rights group says YouTube threatens to block its anti-war channel

Updated 23 May 2024
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Russian rights group says YouTube threatens to block its anti-war channel

  • OVD-Info said YouTube’s email followed a request by the Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor

LONDON: A leading Russian rights group says it has received a notice from YouTube threatening to block access in Russia to one of its video channels featuring news on the war in Ukraine.
OVD-Info, an independent protest monitoring network, said it had received an email from YouTube in early May saying that the Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor had found content on the channel that violated a law on information technology.
“If you do not remove the content, Google may be required to block it,” Alphabet Inc’s YouTube wrote, according to screenshots of an email shared with Reuters. The email did not specify which part of the law OVD-Info was accused of violating.
The channel, Kak Teper (What’s Going On), has 100,000 subscribers and features interviews with Russian opposition figures and political news segments that often touch on the war.
“We are consulting with YouTube and Google and trying to explain that the demand to block our channel is an act of political censorship,” said OVD-Info spokesperson Dmitrii Anisimov. He said the group’s other YouTube channel was not affected.
Contacted by Reuters two times about Youtube’s discussions with OVD-Info, a spokesperson for YouTube did not respond. The spokesperson answered separate questions about three other opposition channels which had videos blocked.
Like many Western technology companies, Google quit Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, pulling its staff and suspending all advertising sales, including on YouTube.
Russia has blocked the vast majority of foreign social media platforms, but has stopped short of blocking YouTube despite fining the video-hosting platform repeatedly for failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal.
YouTube has tens of millions of monthly users in Russia and blocking the entire platform could prove highly unpopular.
Russian independent media reported on Monday that YouTube had deleted videos from three other channels that provided information on how to evade Russian military service.
Two of the groups told Reuters their content had been reinstated within a day after the media reports.
When contacted by Reuters about the videos, the YouTube spokesperson replied by email: “The content in question has been reinstated to YouTube,” without elaborating.
OVD-Info’s Kak Teper would be the first Russian human rights channel to be banned on YouTube, as opposed to just a few videos, according to Natalia Krapiva, tech legal counsel at global digital rights non-profit Access Now.
“We will not have any YouTube to fight for anymore if all the civil society is blocked there,” Krapiva said in a phone interview.