Home Page - Gulf in the Media
HomePoliticsEconomy                               Set Gulfinthemedia.com as home page
"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
Saudi ICT industry thriving on the back of knowledge transfer
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-05-03
Author : Ramadan Ding
Today the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia upholds an ambitious national development vision that touches all corners of the country's social and economic fabric....
Saudi oil policy to see continuity
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-05-03
Author : Syed Rashid Husain
We are a witness to monumental changes! And the Saudi energy sector is no exception. It is also undergoing massive structural changes - at an unprecedented pace....
Qatar gearing up to become region's aviation hub
Source : Gulf Times  
Date : 2015-05-03
Author : Paul Baker
Key countries in the GCC region such as the Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are fast being recognised as major global hubs for commerce, architecture, construction, logistics and...
Yemen … the start of Arab salvation
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2015-05-03
Author : Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Under the cover of humanitarian crisis, Russia has moved forward in an attempt to persuade the United Nations Security Council to impose long truce or a daily truce in Yemen....
It's not just the attire
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-05-03
Author : Feroz Khan
"Welcome, sir", "This way please", "Hope you had a nice trip", "Thank you" and "Have a nice day" are some of the phrases of welcome that we have been hearing...
The new government will not tolerate incompetency and inefficiency
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-05-03
Author : Khaled Al Maeena
The world of business and industry is changing rapidly and governments have to keep pace in order to be able to continue to play an important role in such matters....
Time for taxes
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2015-05-03
Author : Muna Al-Fuzai
The government has set up a new official body called the anti-corruption commission to probe government officials suspected of involvement in corruption....
Saudis are friendlier today
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-05-03
Author : Rasheed Abou-Alsamh
A recent column in this newspaper claimed that Saudis on the whole are aloof and withdrawn and do not talk easily to strangers, and especially to foreigners in the Kingdom....
Why is the erosion of the Saudi middle class a threat to stability?
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-05-02
Author : Samar Fatany
A lot is expected from the new government reshuffle. Among the many challenges that need to be addressed is the erosion of the middle class, which Saudi economists warn...
Obama chasing a mirage
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-05-02
Author : Amir Taheri
In two weeks' time US President Barack Obama is scheduled to host a summit at Camp David with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. The event...
Why are Saudis being turned away from government hospitals?
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-05-02
Author : Elham Al-Jafar
A young man sustained head injuries, trauma and a fractured thigh in a road accident. The real tragedy, however, began when he was rushed by ambulance to a nearby private...
Beware of Iran
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2015-05-01
Author : Jamal Khashoggi
Iran does not want Saudi Arabia to emerge victorious in Yemen, even if this leads to a civil war in Yemen and the destruction of the country as well as...
Why Obama is wrong on Iran
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2015-05-01
Author : Majid Rafizadeh
President Obama has put all of his eggs in one basket, concentrating on Iran's nuclear file and spending a considerable amount of political capital on this issue in the past...
New royal blood regenerates Saudi Arabia
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2015-05-01
Author : Salman Aldossary
Even as Saudi Arabia fights a war along its borders, the Kingdom has achieved greater national stability by continuing its strategy of transferring power to the second and even third...
Mr. de Mistura, why don't you invite ISIS to Geneva as well?
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2015-05-01
Author : Abdulrahman al-Rashed
A week ago, the UN's envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, defied everyone by insisting that Iran be invited to a proposed international conference on Syria, saying: "The United Nations...
Total 200 Results in 14 Pages
For more news, views and reports about this topic, please subscribe
to GRC website: www.grc.net
Sun May 3, 2015| 14-رجب-1436هـ
King Salman, El-Sissi focus on regional peace
Kerry denounces 'hysteria' over Iran nuclear deal
US, Turkey to launch Syria rebel training plan
Qatar realty market growth to extend beyond 2015: OBG
GCC rail and road projects worth $422b
Bahrain real GDP growth reaches 4.5% in 2014
Bahrain King backs free speech
UAE's foreign policy balanced: Abdullah
Dubai pips London, Miami in second home purchases
Al-Abadi reiterates Iraq's ability to defeat ISIL
World peace holds key, says UAE minister
Afghan-Taliban talks in Doha today
Envoys support Yemen talks brokered by GCC
Iran withdraws offer to Indian firms on Farzad B gas field
Kerry: US working with KSA to end Yemen crisis
Proposal to link expat percentage to national security
    Newspaper Editorials
Utilising aid
Right focus
Yemen … the start of Arab salvation
The new government will not tolerate incompetency and inefficiency
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    Bank Reports
Saudi Arabia Banking Sector
GCC Equity Monitor - Global
    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
Islamic Finance: A three-volumes series.
United Arab Emirates’ Legal Framework of Migration
Evaluating Financial Literacy Training for Migrant Workers in the Gulf
    GRC Newsletters/Bulletins

Enter your email to get the Newsletter
Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Terms & Conditions | About Us |
Weather | Qibla Directions | Hijri Date Conversion Tool
Full Page :total time:0  |   41-- 41 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 41 - 41--en--sess-enreq-en-coming