Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
A few weeks ago, one of the most ambitious housing projects was inaugurated in the industrial city of Jubail. SABIC and other petrochemical companies have built thousands of housing units in the city.
The mega housing project has been launched basically for the welfare of the Saudi citizens but not many people within the Kingdom or outside are aware of all the efforts our leaders are making for their people.
Just a few days ago, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman launched projects worth billions of Saudi riyals during his visit to the holy city of Madinah. These mega projects are not only designed to elevate the living standard of Saudis but also to ensure the comfort of pilgrims. Mega development projects are launched in the Kingdom almost on a daily basis and the wheel of progress never stops.
With the ongoing development drive and due to the already massive infrastructure in the Kingdom, it has become a major political and economic power in the world. From humanitarian activities to fight against terrorism, Saudi Arabia is always at the forefront and plays a pivotal role to ensure peace and stability in the region and around the world. Despite all its positive contributions, we only get to hear negative things about the Kingdom in the mainstream western media.
Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries in the world that has a Ministry of Culture and Information, which regulates the communications between Saudi Arabia and other countries and also regulate media in the country.
Advanced modes of mass communication have changed the faces of all nations and these means are changing rapidly.
Our media has to be more involved in international and regional conferences that discuss political and economic events but it is also important to select most suitable Saudis for these events.
Presence of a suitable Saudi media personnel will help remove misconceptions about Saudi Arabia. Saudi media until recently was known to be very conservative, cautious and lacked the aggressiveness required in tackling important events. Saudi media lacked behind the much-needed strength for a country like Saudi Arabia, which enjoys an important position in the comity of nations.
Saudi Arabia needs a very powerful media apparatus to expose our country to the outside world and be more open rather than leaving the outside media to formulate reports about Saudi Arabia in their own way or based on their wrong perceptions.
In the past few months, we have seen a wave of news and views about Saudi Arabia painting a distorted image of the country. We read analyses on Saudi Arabia’s internal matters by people who don’t know much about the Kingdom and its political dynamics. Some reports in the western media blow some developments in the Kingdom out of proportion. At the end of the day, we have to admit that it is our media that need to make major changes in the way it operates. In the age of mass communication we have to take drastic measures to take advantage of the mass media and be more open to the world. Saudi Arabia and the Saudis are more progressive than the popular but wrong belief.
As a matter of fact, it is Saudi Arabia that is still developing and progressing at a time when many countries in the area and around the world have come to a standstill. The Middle East was and still in chaos because of the so-called Arab Spring and the events proved again the strength, stability, security and the continued prosperity of the Kingdom. Unfortunately, we failed to give the true picture of our country to the world. If we don’t show the world the real face of the Kingdom then others will continue to write as they please.
Written by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim. Is Saudi Media Ready to Take Up Challenge? reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al-Mulhim.