Saudi Arabia will host the first ever international media forum next week in Riyadh. The Saudi Journalists Association (SJA), and the official organization the Saudi Media Forum expect to attract over 1000 media professionals from around the globe to attend.
By Arthur Blok |
The 2-days event in the Saudi capital – December 2 and 3 – aims to highlight the transformation process and modernization the Kingdom has been undergoing as foreseen in the Saudi Vision 2030. Next weeks’ event will have various panels and workshops discussing the Saudi and international media industry by gathering opinion leaders, analysts, politicians and journalists. All centered around the theme: ‘Media industry: Opportunities and challenges’.
An essential part of the ambitious Vision 2030 is to create a more open and modern society and reduce the nation’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and further develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, tourism and media. At the same time, cultural innovation is supported by the government to unlock the potential of the young population in a nation where almost two thirds are younger than 30.
“I believe we can move towards the future with confidence if we take everyone onboard, which means we share and exchange ideas, learn from them, and implement them,” said Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi, President of the Saudi Media Forum on the organization’s website.
“This event gives us an opportunity to create that platform where professionals from all over the world can express their views freely on issues particularly related to the media industry. That said, its impact will be felt way beyond its apparently limited scope. Moreover, there have never been more opportunities for free expression than there are now in the digital age and we ought to use it to our utmost benefit,” said Al-Harthi.
The relevance and utility of forums such as these cannot be underestimated. They are especially important for Saudi Arabia as the country seeks to build its nascent media industry to bring it to the level of other crucial and mega-developments that have been taking place across sectors.
According to the organization’s website, the current digitization of the media presents opportunities as well as challenges to established players and newcomers alike. The forum will deal with all these prospects and examine what contributions the inevitable digitization of media and news can make to safeguarding the values of pluralism around the world, how to counter fake news, the need for balanced reporting and the like.
Some of the topics to be debated include ‘Content Creation: Informing or Shaping Public Opinion?’, ‘Media, 10 Years from Now’, ‘The Power of Intercultural Dialogue’, ‘How to Invest in GCC Media’, and ‘The war on Fake News’.
The conference offers a first-time opportunity to connect and strengthen relations with inspiring representatives from the fields of journalism, digital media, politics, culture, business, development, academia and civil society.
Forum-President Al-Harthi said: “It’s also an opportunity for potential investors in the industry to see for themselves what Saudi Arabia seeks to do and what it has to offer to investors in the industry.”