Home Page - Gulf in the Media
HomePoliticsEconomy                               Set Gulfinthemedia.com as home page
Opinions
"Postings of opinions published in the Gulf and international newspapers
 Print  Send This Page
Save Listen to this Article
National dialogues and genuine reforms   

Arab News - 24 February, 2012
Author: Fatin Bundagji

The concluding deliberations from the final session of the 9th National Dialogue on "Saudi Media, Reality & Means of Development" will be presented today (Friday, Feb. 24) to the highest authority in the Kingdom: King Abdullah. And I have the opportunity to be part of this high profile, mainly elitist event.

The Minister of Culture and Information Abdul Aziz Khoja along with senior officials as well as 70 participants (male and female) from all over the Kingdom came together during this two-day event in the city of Hael.

For the ninth time, and over the period of nine years, the King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue has successfully concluded one of its brainchild products: The Annual National Dialogues. Initiated in 2003 by then Crown Prince Abdullah, the dialogues’ aim is to bring together various segments of Saudi society to publicly discuss divergent issues affecting the harmony and prosperity of our nation — and more importantly its unity and security.

There were five topics ready for us to deliberate upon during sessions of two hours each. All participants had the opportunity to present their points within a three-minute time-frame after which the microphones would automatically switch off. The topics under discussion were bold and future driven.

Topping them was the subject of “Freedom and Accountability in Saudi Media,” followed by “Media's Relation with Public Sectors,” “The Role of New-age Media in Addressing National Issues,” “What Saudi Society requires from the Ministry of Culture and Information” and concluded by the need to formulate an “Ethical Code of Conduct” for the Saudi media industry.

As bold as the topics were, I was somehow disappointed by our interactions. Almost all of us tackled the issues at face value focusing mainly on theory rather than practice. After an hour or so of theoretical presentations, a breath of fresh air struck us as a young lady began to speak… She was confident and calm. Her voice was controlled and her message was perfectly timed. Her task was not easy for she was addressing an audience of senior experts, bureaucrats, educators, and ministers… and to top that, her message was being broadcast live Kingdomwide. Her name was Rowan Al Marwany, she was 14 years old. She introduced herself as the product of the “remote control” generation.

Her message hit us all like thunder. Whereas for nearly two hours we were caught in theory and blame, this young girl forced us to listen and think and come to terms with the reality that our time as the “older generation” leading the young must be revisited if we want a better future for our country. What we need is for us embrace this stage of our life and become the partners of our youths by working with them hand in hand to design the future they wish for, not what we think they need.

In listening to this wise young girl, I felt that her message must be shared by all. I hope that I have done justice to her three-minute interaction for I have translated some of it literally and in other parts I have paraphrased it so as to safeguard the essence of her message. Rowan’s message, as well as her voice did not represent her as a young girl of 14 years, but rather it showcased her as representative of 60 percent of our society. “I am of the generation of the “remote control’ which I use to my free will and I have a different point of view”. I believe that freedom and responsibility are the result of preparation and nurturing. If we provide the fertile soil that produces responsible citizens then we can guarantee that “responsible freedom will always prevail.

“My freedom is that I worship Allah as if He were in front of me” with no supervision but with total commitment. “My freedom is that all of us are ‘Shepherd’s that have been entrusted to care for our flocks. To me, my first flock is my mind, my thoughts, my values, and the principles of my community.” Freedom for me is to be able to make sure that all those around me are provided with the support that will help them to achieve their full potential.

“Responsibility for me is in my ability to be proactive, to initiate and to achieve. Responsibility means that I must empathize with others, respect their freedoms and accept them as they are.” I am responsible. As such I have the right to contribute to the building of my country’s institutions as well as its media. Only when we as a nation know that this concept of inclusion is deeply rooted in our society’s collective consciousness — and only when we put our country’s interest above our own can we safely claim that we have a free and responsible media.

“Another point I want to focus on is that of our mindset. It seems as it were, that Saudi society is above criticism. This tragedy starts within the confines of the family circle and eventually passes on to all of our public and private sectors. I saying this out of experience, as a student of middle school I am saddened by the approach our school system has taken. It considers itself above reproach and above criticism.”

“For this I have a simple message: We are a generation that believes that mistakes are part and parcel of the learning process. We believe that listening and acknowledging the need for reform is “free and responsible behavior.” Accepting criticism and fixing what needs to be fixed does not undermine or belittle, quite the opposite it builds credibility and trust and proves to us that our system is strong and dependable. We are a generation that sees things through a different angle — a wider one.”

As I conclude my article, I hope that today (Friday) will be the start of a new awakening. I hope that today as we visit King Abdullah, a new beginning will emerge before us. Tradition has it that during the last sessions of the National Dialogues, the participants personally present the concluding remarks to the king. Tradition also has it that only one participant is chosen to undertake this task. I hope that this person with be our young Rowan, representing our society and calling for genuine reform for youths and women alike.

— Fatin Bundagji is president of TLC Consultancy. Write to her at: fatinbund@yahoo.com
 
The lessons from the Iran negotiations
Source : The Daily Star  
Date : 2014-11-27
Author : Rami G. Khouri
This week's extension in the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 is a welcome jolt of composure and realism in a process that for years has been characterized by wild...
How many hours do our officials work?
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2014-11-27
Author : Muhammad Al-Amoudi
The other day I read a report that said thousands of government officials only work two hours every day and the remaining hours are wasted on things unrelated to their...
Has the End Finally Come for Iraq's Christians?
Source : The Counter Punch  
Date : 2014-11-27
Author : Patrick Cockburn
Two years ago Jalal Yako, a Syriac Catholic priest, returned to his home town of Qaraqosh to persuade members of his community to stay in Iraq and not to emigrate...
Haram, haram, haram!
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2014-11-27
Author : Fuad Mustafa Azab
Every Friday, I go to Al-Milah Cemetery in Makkah to visit my mother's grave. Afterward, I go to the Grand Mosque to perform Friday prayer. While I was sitting near...
'Coercive diplomacy' and the failure of the nuclear negotiations
Source : Middle East Eye  
Date : 2014-11-27
Author : Gareth Porter
After more than a year of negotiations between the United States and Iran, the two sides have failed to reach an agreement by the agreed deadline in July. They...
Iraq War 4.0?
Source : The Antiwar.com  
Date : 2014-11-27
Author : Tom Engelhardt
Let's play a game, the kind that makes no sense on this single-superpower planet of ours. For a moment, do your best to suspend disbelief and imagine that there's another...
What is Iran's Future Regional Role?
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-11-27
Author : Eyad Abu Shakra
The picture taken a couple of days ago of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif with the US Secretary of State and the other foreign ministers of the P5+1 group...
Make housemaid's running away a criminal offence
Source : Oman Daily Observer  
Date : 2014-11-27
Author : Ali Al Matani
Runaway housemaids is one of the issues of concern to the Sultanate, like other labour importing Gulf societies. The problems related to housemaids range from high salaries to exploitation and...
The Blue Heart
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2014-11-27
Author : Labeed Abdal
The national committee against human trafficking in the United Arab Emirates announced joining the UN Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking, reassuring commitment to support international efforts to stop this...
Syria's humanitarian crisis
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2014-11-27
Author : David Miliband
From the capture of Mosul by ISIS to the siege of Kobani, the political and media focus on what used to be called the Syrian civil war has changed. The...
On Syria's turbulent history of coups
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2014-11-26
Author : Dr. Halla Diyab
This article is the first of a three-part series on Syria’s coups. Syria has a long history of coups – or "inqilabat" - which have defined and shaped its current policy...
Renewable energy and the future of people
Source : Oman Daily Observer  
Date : 2014-11-26
Author : Haider Al Lawati
The Sultanate entered a new phase recently in the era of energy. The Government, represented by the Rural Areas Electricity Company, has signed an agreement with the Government of Abu...
National Day celebrations — a retrospect
Source : Oman Daily Observer  
Date : 2014-11-26
Author : Dr Rajan Philips
It all began with those electrifying moments on Oman TV when His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said addressed his dear subjects and allayed their anxieties, conveyed his love and benevolence...
ISIS and Al-Ahsa
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-11-26
Author : Mshari Al-Zaydi
The long-awaited statement from the Saudi Interior Ministry on the attack on the village of Dalwah in the country's Al-Ahsa province has finally been issued, shedding more light on this...
Winning the war on terrorism
Source : Gulf Daily News  
Date : 2014-11-26
Author : Yenus S
Despite the multifaceted international commitment and investment of huge financial resources to combat and contain it at all levels, terrorism is on the rise. The latest statistics compiled by the...
Total 200 Results in 14 Pages
1 
For more news, views and reports about this topic, please subscribe
to GRC website: www.grc.net
Thu Nov 27, 2014| 04-صفر-1436هـ
Qatar-Egypt detente urged
Saudi budget based on $ 45 oil price 'ideal'
Houthis and Sunnis clash in Yemen's capital: 5 dead
UAE banking system outlook stable: Moody's
UN nuclear watchdog needs more funds for monitoring Iran
GCC petrochem industry urged to leverage boon period amid challenges
Al-Ghanim meets Pope Francis, stresses Islam is religion of peace
Iraq budget based on $ 70/barrel
Syrian no-fly zone not being considered: Nato general
Kuwait-Egypt trade volume hit USD 3.2 bln: Ambassador
Qatar condemns storming of Al Aqsa mosque compound
Qatar hospitality sector upbeat as hotel room yields jump
Bahrain jails 12 for jailbreak
SR198m housing loans of deceased are written off
Call for Federal National Council polls after Ramadan
Qatar's trade surplus fall in Oct mainly on weak oil prices
    Newspaper Editorials
An anti-democratic bill
Juncker investment plan seen as first step to fixing EU economy
More>>  
    Opinions
What is Iran's Future Regional Role?
Syria's humanitarian crisis
More>>  
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    Reports
The US Shale Revolution and the Arab Gulf States
More>>  
    Bank Reports
GCC Markets Performance – May 2014
Saudi Arabia: Baseline Macroeconomic Forecast 2014-16
More>>  
    GRC Analysis
Saudi Arabia and the ASEAN Periphery: Cambodia, Myanmar, and Brunei
NATO and the Future of Gulf Security.
Saudi-Vietnam Relations
    GRC Commentary
Price of not heeding Kingdom's advice
On Relations between Rulers and Citizens: The Need for a New Social/Political Contract in the GCC States
Key Issue Facing the Saudi Ruling House.
    GRC Book Review
Beyond Regionalism? Regional Cooperation, Regionalism and Regionalization in the Middle East
India, GCC and the Global Energy Regime: Exploring Interdependence and Outlook for Collaboration.
    GRC Press Release
Gulf Research Center press releases to the media
    GRC Publications
Environmental Cost and Face of Agriculture in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries
State-Society Relations in the Arab Gulf States
Regional Security in the Framework of ASEAN: Potential Lessons for the GCC
    GRC Newsletters/Bulletins

Enter your email to get the Newsletter
Go
      
Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Terms & Conditions | About Us |
Weather | Qibla Directions | Hijri Date Conversion Tool
Full Page :total time:0  |   27-- 27 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 27 - 27--en--sess-enreq-en-coming