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
 
Houthi Shylock
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2015-03-01
Author : Ahmed Al-Jarallah
In his recent speech, AbdulMalik Al-Houthi interpreted in detail the Arab proverb which says, 'The wicked ate the merchant's money' and this wicked 'terrorist' who turned against his country made...
Erdogan doesn't deserve a Saudi red carpet
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2015-03-01
Author : Khalaf Ahmed Al Habtoor
On Saturday, the Turkish President, Recip Tayyip Erdogan, is scheduled to begin a four-day visit to Saudi Arabia to hold talks with King Salman, who recently acceded to the throne...
IS slaughterer
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2015-03-01
Author : Muna Al-Fuzai
"Jihadi John" or "IS Slaughterer", this man caused a lot of panic by butchering innocents. When he appeared with his covered face in black, it was hard for many to...
IS and the division of the region
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2015-03-01
Author : Dr Bader Al Daihani
The plot to divide regional countries has been supported by the latest developments in many major Arab countries like Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. The armed militants of IS are...
The rise of GCC's higher education sector
Source : Gulf Times  
Date : 2015-03-01
Author : Dr Björn Kjerfve
There is no denying that the GCC has become one of the most attractive hubs for global higher education institutions which have set their sights on the area to launch...
MOH needs a major reshuffle
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-03-01
Author : Khaled Al Maeena
The Ministry of Health needs a major reshuffle. Minister Ahmed Al-Khatib would do well to read Ali Musa’s column published last week in Al-Watan daily. The writer addresses some of...
Banks have to do better
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-03-01
Author : Rasheed Abou-Alsamh
I just wrote a few weeks ago about the immense challenges that Saudi entrepreneurs have in obtaining loans to help them start and run their small to medium enterprises, citing...
Understanding Turkey's stance
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-03-01
Author : Harun Yahya
Last Sunday, the global media reported that Turkish tanks had rolled into Syria to carry out an operation to evacuate the tomb of Suleyman Shah from the only Turkish territory...
Need for pragmatic approach
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-03-01
Author : Eyad Abu Shakra
Certain regional developments these days give an impression as if the Arab world lacks a clear vision during this tumultuous period. It appears as if the Arab countries are unable...
The minister's funny statements
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-03-01
Author : Ali Al-Sharaimi
Why is there always a gap between the real needs of the citizens and the statements of the ministers and senior government officials? The statements are so rosy and tightly...
Let's provide alternative sentences for minor offenses
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-02-28
Author : Abdullah Al-Jamili
Saudi law has seen major and comprehensive development over the past years. The development program of the late King Abdullah proved to be effective as specialized courts were set up,...
Education is the foundation for development
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-02-28
Author : Maytham Al-Jishi
I think everyone agrees that education in our country needs to be restructured. Everything in the system, from its basic policies to the tools used, should be reconsidered....
Saleh should be held to account
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2015-02-28
Author : Abdulrahman al-Rashed
A UN probe has stated that former president of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh amassed a fortune of up to 60 billion US dollars during his time in power. It is...
Fire hazards endanger public safety
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-02-28
Author : Samar Fatany
Safety measures are ignored and violated in factories, workshops and warehouses around the Kingdom....
Rich leader of a poor nation
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-02-28
Author : Abdulrahman al-Rashed
According to international organizations, during his tenure as Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh had amassed wealth to the tune of around $60 billion. Even when judged by the standard of...
Total 200 Results in 14 Pages
1 
For more news, views and reports about this topic, please subscribe
to GRC website: www.grc.net
Mon Mar 2, 2015| 11-جماد أول-1436هـ
Erdogan, El-Sissi set for key Saudi talks
Bahraini Amb. to Yemen to resume duties from Aden
Al-Mansoori: SMEs are cornerstone of any economy
Yemen, Iran sign MoU in air transport field
Jailed Kurdish leader calls on PKK to lay down arms
Kuwait honors vows against money laundering, terror finance -- Min.
Iran-China trade hits $51.8b in 2014
Kuwait to host summit on women's issues in March
Middle East funds increasingly bullish on Saudi Arabia equities
Mohamed and Putin discuss co-operation
ODB to offer 60m rials in loans in '15 to help diversify economy
Commercial bids for Oman Rail Segment 1 due today
Yemen separatists pull out of UN-backed talks
OPEC's oil supply falls in February
UN envoy in Damascus to seek quick Aleppo truce
Iran shrugs off Netanyahu's bid to block nuclear deal
New KSA campaign to expel illegal expats
    Newspaper Editorials
N. Korean threat
US carriers ought to compete with Gulf airlines and grow
More>>  
    Opinions
The rise of GCC's higher education sector
Need for pragmatic approach
More>>  
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    Reports
More>>  
    Bank Reports
Saudi Arabia Banking Sector
GCC Equity Monitor - Global
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
The Socio-Political Background and Stakes of ‘Saudizing’ the Workforce in Saudi Arabia: the Nitaqat Policy
Current Progress in the Nationalisation Programmes in Saudi Arabia
Bahrain’s Legal Framework of Migration
    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:3  |   41-- 44 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 44 - 44--en--sess-enreq-en-coming