• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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The Saudi media forum 2024

Saudi media forum

I was privileged to be a speaker at the 3rd edition of the Saudi Media Forum last week. The journey began with an outreach by the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, mostly referred to as “The International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID).”

Working tirelessly to promote dialogue as a means of fostering peace and community, KAICIID remains a foremost organisation in promoting peace across faiths and across cultures. My topic of discussion was the role of women journalists in shaping media narratives for peace and inclusivity. Along with two notable Arab female journalists, Natalie A-Rashed, Managing Editor of the women’s section of Al-Riyadh newspaper, and Christiane Baissary, Senior News Anchor at Al-Arabiya, we delved into the crucial role women play in advancing the principles of dialogue and tolerance, especially during crises.

I spoke at length about the incredible role of female journalists in providing humanitarian perspectives in coverage and giving voice, particularly to women, children, and the most vulnerable. I also spoke about the fact that being nature’s women journalists is part of the archival nature of women as custodians of culture and community, which gives them a veritable platform for promoting dialogue journalism, a particularly positive type of journalism for advancing understanding promoted by KAICIID.

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This is particularly so because women journalists are adept at telling human stories and supporting peace support initiatives revolving around women and children in conflict coverage. My colleagues also discussed conflict coverage, especially where ordinary people would rather not have a war. It was a very well-received panel, and the Neom hall at the Hilton Riyadh, where it took place, was at capacity. The audience was also keen on sharing their experiences, and some others wanted the panellists to discuss their experiences as women journalists, which we did. There was an informal networking and Q&A session. The panel was moderated by Maya Sukar, Programme Officer, Arab Region for KAICIID.

“We delved into the crucial role women play in advancing the principles of dialogue and tolerance, especially during crises.” 

I wandered through the forum, which hosted 2000 media personalities and 80 media entities over two days, and sat through the gem of a presentation by Juan Senor, President of the UK-based Innovation Technologies, where he talked about the future of newsrooms with the arrival of AI. His nearly 30-minute talk dwelled mostly on opportunities for media houses and the challenges, especially with misinformation and disinformation.

Before the forum began, there was a phenomenal exhibition by FOMEX on the future of media. Top-level media technology was on display, as were many content producers and media institutions. I got interviewed by Saudi Education Television (AIN), which boasts 25 stations for virtual learning.

The Saudi Media Forum, which was declared open by the Saudi Minister of Media Salman bin Yousef Al-Dosari, was organised by the Saudi Broadcasting Authority in association with the Saudi Journalists Association with the general theme “Media in a world taking shape.”

All in all, it was a worthy experience, and I encourage media persons and media institutions to line up for the 4th edition.

I certainly will make a beehive to be in attendance.