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
 
Asma al-Assad: Rise and fall of the new Syrian woman
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2014-10-22
Author : Dr. Halla Diyab
In 2001, Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad set out to undertake gender reform. Her predecessor Anisa Makhlouf never appeared in national ceremonies, nor accompanied her husband on his diplomatic visits....
The Kurdish way of fighting ISIS
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2014-10-22
Author : Octavia Nasr
Images speak volumes. Terrorists of the so-called "Islamic State," or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, know that very well and employ it in their fear-instilling tactics. It is...
Kobani's women are on the front line of more than one battle
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-10-22
Author : Diana Mukkaled
Amid the worry accompanying the siege imposed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters on the Syrian–Kurdish city of Kobani, Arab criticism and discontent surfaced despite the...
A conflicting policy...
Source : Gulf Daily News  
Date : 2014-10-22
Author : Yenus S
The recent battle between the Islamic State (IS) militants and Kurds for the Syrian city of Kobani has put Turkey's foreign policy in the spotlight....
The medium is the message
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2014-10-22
Author : Tariq A. Al-Maeena
Marshall McLuhan, a brilliant yet controversial thinker is regarded by many as the father of mass media and communications. A charismatic individual, McLuhan's acute analysis of the changing face...
Women and IS terrorism
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2014-10-22
Author : Shamlan Al-Essa
Despite the atrocities committed by the Islamic State and its practice of all forms of violence and heinous terror against humanity in general and women in particular – as this...
Thank you, UAE
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2014-10-22
Author : Abdallah Buwair
I read a story in a local newspaper titled 'Humanitarian Leader Al-Sabah lights up UAE capital's sky', which covered an operetta held in Abu Dhabi recently to commemorate HH the...
The Turkish conundrum
Source : Khaleej Times  
Date : 2014-10-22
Author : Mahir Ali
Turkey's decision, announced on Monday, to permit Kurdish fighters to percolate across its border with Syria to aid the defence of Kobani against the ISIS came as something of a...
How Iran will benefit from regional unrest
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2014-10-22
Author : Osama Al Sharif
Iran could emerge as a winner from the open-ended war on the self-ascribed Islamic State (IS), which has shifted attention from Tehran's attempt to expand its sphere of influence and...
Silence of intellectuals and emergence of IS
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2014-10-22
Author : Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi
The rapid rise of the so-called Islamic State has exposed clear fault-lines in the Arab world, not least the failure of Arab intellectuals to stand up and be counted in...
When the Terrorists Become 'Activists'
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-10-21
Author : Salman Aldossary
Saudi Arabia has issued a death sentence for a Saudi Shi’ite religious figure, Nimr Al-Nimr. The charges that have been proven against him are numerous and quite varied....
ISIS is real, not a nightmare
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-10-21
Author : Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Prior to June 6, Iraq's former prime minister, Nuri Al-Maliki, treated warnings about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) with disdain, claiming reports about the group were meant...
Efforts to conscript Turkey
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2014-10-21
Author : Yousef Awadh
It is glaring that the international community has reached the dead end in its bid to persuade Turkey to join the international actions against DAESH. Through the statements made by...
Need for more self-employed entrepreneurs in the Sultanate
Source : Oman Daily Observer  
Date : 2014-10-21
Author : Ali Ahmed al Riyami
While the number of Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Sultanate is on the increase, there are still not enough individuals with entrepreneurial spirit going into business for...
Capital markets and global oil price fallout
Source : Oman Daily Observer  
Date : 2014-10-21
Author : Lo'ai Batainah
The change in investors' sentiment and decisions means a lot for analysts and observers; it means a shift in investors' appetite and unwillingness to face any possible financial or operational...
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 Oct 23, 2014| 28-ذو الحجة-1435هـ
Iraq can defeat IS without foreign troops: Khamenei
GCC railway network project on track
'Saudi provided $435m to support Yemen'
UAE has ability to be world's premier business capital
Bahrain warns those planning to disrupt polls
3 big IPOs in pipeline as Saudi market booms
Qatar wins UN Human Rights Council membership
Oil & Gas sector plays key role in Oman's economy
OIC condemns Israeli brutal raids on Gaza
Real estate price index at all-time high
Israeli minister airs Iran nuclear concerns at Pentagon
UAE moves to revamp education system
No plans to cut expenditure next year, says Al Jashmi
Enemies of Islam 'spreading evil and lies through Twitter' 
Iran, Armenia discuss ways to boost agricultural ties
    Newspaper Editorials
Lifting veil over ban
Waste of time
More>>  
    Opinions
How Iran will benefit from regional unrest
When the Terrorists Become 'Activists'
More>>  
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    Reports
Justice in Transition in Yemen
The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for US Policy
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
Labor Market Integration in the GCC Countries
Integration Processes in Latin America
GCC’s External Trade Integration: An Assessment
    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  |   20-- 20 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 20 - 20--en--sess-enreq-en-coming