Arab news agencies and the second Egyptian revolution

Al Jazeera

Do the Arabic news agencies report the current happenings in Egypt in a fair and unbiased way?

On Monday morning during the Cairo news conference, one of the journalists stood up and demanded Al-Jazeera reporters to be banished from the event.
The call was supported by the crowd and the employees of the Doha-based channel were eventually forced to leave the conference room, accompanied by chants of “Out! Out!

Al-Jazeera was founded by Qatar’s ruling family, which were strong supporters of deposed Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, who were toppled by the country’s military on Wednesday.

Twenty-two reporters of Al Jazeera have now resigned for what they called biased coverage by their editors.
The staffers say the station’s reporting did not align with the actual events taking place as protesters for and against ousted President Mohammed Morsi have rallied in the streets, and members of the Muslim Brotherhood have threatened revolt if Morsi is not reinstated.

Anchor Karem Mahmoud said that the resignations had been brought about by a perceived lack of commitment and Al Jazeera professionalism in media coverage, adding that “the management in Doha provokes sedition among the Egyptian people and has an agenda against Egypt and other Arab countries.”
He said that “there are instructions to us to telecast certain news”.

Mahmoud announced his and the staff’s resignations on air, saying management in Qatar, where Al Jazeera is based, were not committed to journalistic standards, and had instructed staff to favour the views of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Karem Mahmoud, a veteran of the BBC World Service, joined Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr in 2011 to report on his homeland. But he tells that in the past few weeks the channel has taken a political bias “which undermines everything we’re taught as reporters and broadcasters, and is not in line with what I believe to be right.”
The alliance with one party has exacerbated the situation in Egypt, rather than helped it, Mahmoud said.
“The coverage over the last few weeks was the tipping point – especially the airing of extreme speeches over the last few days, which have added to the crisis Egypt is seeing right now,”.

Haggag Salama, a correspondent of the network in Luxor, had resigned on Sunday accusing it of “airing lies and misleading viewers”. He announced his resignation in a phone-in interview with Dream 2 channel.

Four Egyptian members of editorial staff at Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha resigned in protest against what they termed a “biased editorial policy” pertaining to the events in Egypt, Ala’a Al Aioti, a news producer, told Gulf News by phone.

An official from AL-Jazeera told Agence France-Presse that the employees who resigned “had not adapted to the editorial line of Al-Jazeera, which refuses to bow to pressure and which continues its coverage with professionalism, regardless of who is in power.”

Al Arabiya, the other large network in the Gulf is more in line with Saudi Arabia and UAE and does not support the Muslim brotherhood, and they are reporting more stories against the toppled regime.

Saudi Arabia has pledged 5 billion dollar to the new government and UAE pledged 3 billion.

Are Arabic news channels abandoning journalistic standards in favour of the view of the governments that support them?

Read more:

Gulf News

News Max

RT News

Saudi Arabia changes weekend

business

The weekend in Saudi Arabia used to be Thursday and Friday, and this is now to change to Friday and Saturday. Friday is the Muslim holy day,  when men are supposed to go to the mosque for communal prayer. Friday prayer is the big prayer, there is usually a sermon as well.

This will be a great improvement for Saudis international trade, since they now overlap 4 days with large parts of the world instead of only three days, and they will have the same working week schedule with other GCC countries, which adopted this scheme earlier.

Mohammed al-Sheikh, chairman of the Capital Market Authority, said in a separate statement that the weekend shift will fulfil the needs of the Saudi economy, especially as the kingdom is a member of the Group of 20 nations.
“The weekend shift will unify trading days with the region’s markets and will reduce the gap with global markets to one day, which will lead to greater convergence with global markets,” al-Sheikh said.

The conservatives have been fighting this change of the official weekend. The change overrides years of objections from religious conservatives that Saudi Arabia, home of the most important two sites of Islam, should keep a weekend distinct from that of the West.
“We will be copying the Jews and the Christians,” prominent Saudi businessman Abdul Rahman Al Jeraisy said in 2007, when the king’s Shura advisory council considered the change.
The debate has been going on since 2007.

The kingdom’s new Shoura Council started in April to consider a shift in the weekend.
The change is now happening on June 29.  By royal decree.

AA

read more:

Al Arabiya

The Guardian

Gulf News

Manal Al Sharif on TED

Very unusual for TED talks, Manal Al Sharif gets multiple standing ovations during her beautiful and eloquent TED Talk.

Manal Al Sharif has inspired people, not only in Saudi Arabia, but over the entire world, projecting a positive image of Saudi women, and Saudi people.

Enjoy!

AA

Saudi Arabia: The Presence of Public Relations

pr

jazarah.net

 

I became curious about the demographics and number of public relation firms within the Kingdom.  As I started my search, I believe I may have found a story within the story.

To begin with, there are a number of public relations firms located throughout the Kingdom.  The force behind some of these firms may be blurred in that it is difficult to determine if the key officials are Saudis or non-Saudis.

However, what truly surprised me the most in conducting this research is that the Saudi government had engaged a PR firm which was Jewish owned.  Given the limited lack of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, I never expected to uncover a Jewish owned firm providing public relation services on behalf of the Kingdom.

Another refreshing surprise was when searching LinkedIn with the key words public relations and Saudi Arabia, in addition to many male profiles, a number of female profiles came up too.  It seems that public relations is a viable and acceptable industry for women in the Kingdom.

Here are some of the numerous hits I received about PR firms in the Kingdom:

Traccs Public Relations with offices in Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman.

Tihama Advertising and Public Relations located in Jeddah.

This site provides a comprehensive list of PR firms in the Kingdom, to include the presence of the US firm, Hill and Knowlton, located in Riyadh.

This site contains even more listings of PR firms located throughout the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia: Living in Saudi Arabia Requires a Tougher Skin

tough skin required

eloquentwoman.blogspot.com

 

Whether one is an expatriate in Saudi Arabia or a foreigner married to a Saudi, to Saudis you are viewed as a guest in their country.  The majority of Saudis will go out of their way to be hospitable, kind and helpful to the guests.

I had multiple experiences of both Saudi men and women approaching me in grocery stores or department stores wanting to be helpful or simply practice their English.  I had approaches by both men and women and none in an inappropriate manner.  Saudi women were especially kind if I were in an abaya store or in a women’s formal store searching for a gown to wear to a wedding.   They wanted to assist in helping me find the perfect abaya or gown!

However, I also had a few of my own experiences which were not as welcoming.  One experience featured two women who were determined to jump ahead of me in the queue at a shoe store.  These women though were not aware I was not in the shoe store alone.  I was with Mama Moudy, my Saudi mother-in-law.  She let them know in no uncertain terms there actions were rude and uncalled for.  Both the women were quickly apologizing to me!

The bottom line though is both the good and bad experiences between expatriates and Saudis can go both ways.  Rather than risk a public altercation, it’s better to have thick skin and pay no mind when someone does something less than socially acceptable.  Expatriates are each individual Ambassadors of their respective countries and Saudis are also representatives of their country too.  We each choose what kind of impression we want to leave with one another.

Of course, if either an expatriate or a Saudi has taken an action that goes beyond just mere rudeness or sarcasm, the wronged party should seek restitution through the proper channels.  While doing so, an expatriate should also remember that Saudis have WASTA, meaning the ability to use influence or contacts.  That does not mean an expatriate who has been wronged can’t seek restitution, but the manner in which it is done must be in conformity with the culture.

If an expatriate chooses to go public about an incident and sites places, names, and individuals where a Saudi was in the wrong, that Saudi and/or its institution will lose face.  A point will have been made but maybe at the jeopardy of the expatriate, especially if the Saudi has WASTA.

If an expatriate goes public and states facts without identifying specific individuals or organizations but at the same time letting it be known that more specifics are available, this does give an opportunity of face saving and also setting things right in a more amicable and satisfactory fashion.

All expatriates in the Kingdom are sponsored by either an individual Saudi or a Saudi organization.  As a result, there is much more pressure on the expatriates to abide by the customs and traditions of the Kingdom.  And don’t forget, the expatriate is also the guest…but guests can be asked to leave.

Saudi Arabia: Saudiazation with so many Foreign Workers

jawazat

alwatan.com.sa

 

As of 2012 there were more than two million foreign workers throughout the Kingdom.  This figure includes expatriates who are in executive level jobs to domestic workers and laborers.  However, the Kingdom is cracking down rapidly and strongly against foreign workers in the Kingdom in its effort to have many of these positions filled instead by unemployed Saudis.  The present unemployment rate of Saudis is 12.5 percent in spite of many of the Saudis having received higher education or technical training.

Most foreign workers in professional sectors are in the Kingdom because they have a skill or expertise that the Kingdom is unable to fulfill with a Saudi national.  However, Saudi Arabia has recognized they must build up their own indigenous workforce and are positioning Saudis to receive skills and expertise presently unavailable in the Kingdom through foreign scholarships abroad with the intent to ultimately replace many expatriate workers.

In the past six years, Saudi Arabia, under the auspices of King Abdullah, has greatly expanded educational opportunities inside the Kingdom within its medical and educational sectors.  There are now multiple universities where Saudis can receive training and education to become physicians, nurses, technicians and educators in a board spectrum of fields.

Although more challenging to fill due to the type of work, Saudi Arabia is making efforts to have Saudis work in positions as drivers or laborers.  Some Saudi women are taking domestic positions as well but they do remain a very small minority due to cultural resistance.

At the same time, the pool of now illegal and unemployed foreign workers in the Kingdom gets bigger each day.   This is in part to either employers terminating contracts with foreign workers and to a degree, due to some Saudis who sponsored expatriates into the Kingdom as their own money making scheme.  In this case, a Saudi would sponsor some expatriate workers who would find their own jobs, usually as drivers, and would pay the Saudi a fee each month for the sponsorship.  Jawazat (entity which controls the iqama residence permit) has been aggressively cracking down on expatriates who have overstayed after their employment has been terminated in addition to the expatriates who have been operating in the Kingdom as “freelancers.”

American Bedu has seen an increase in emails from expatriates who are employed but remaining in the Kingdom.  These individuals all ask for help in finding another job stating that they are responsible for supporting their family back in their home country and that there are less employment opportunities back in their home countries.

It’s a catch-22 in a sense.  It is understandable that Saudi Arabia wants to be more independent and less reliant on foreign help.  Naturally the Kingdom would like to see the funds of the salaries remain in the Kingdom too, supporting the local economy.  Yet it is also easy to feel sympathy for the expatriate workers who came to the Kingdom seeing an opportunity to rise the standard of living for their family back in their home country.

In closing this post, American Bedu is sharing three videos which all depict the fear expatriates feel when they hear the dreaded announcement, “Jawazat.”  (please note – video three is a spoof and pure humor)

 

 

Saudi Arabia/USA: What Should a Saudi Student Do if Arrested or Questioned by Authorities?

19 April

arrested saudi

 theglobalexperts.org

 

 

There are thousands of Saudi students studying across the United States.  After the tragic events at Monday’s marathon in Boston, it’s not a bad time to step back and review what a Saudi student should or should not do if questioned or arrested by US authorities.

Saudi students, like American citizens, are expected to obey the laws of the United States.  If a Saudi student is questioned or arrested by authorities, he or she must continue to obey the rules.  However, that does not mean a Saudi national does not have rights or choices.

The laws may vary from state to state so I would encourage university Saudi Clubs across the United States to find out the laws specific to the state in which one is located and make those laws available to all incoming students.

The web site, usa.gov, provides laws and regulations for each state.  It is a good reference point for anyone unfamiliar with US laws to start research.   The Ohio Bar also has an excellent article on its site pertaining to YOUR rights if stopped, questioned or arrested by the police. The US legal system is very different from Saudi’s sharia’a based legal system.

The American Civil Liberties Union has extensive information and advice as well if one is arrested, stopped or questioned by police, immigration or the FBI.  The following information is taken directly from the ACLU website and is useful information for a Saudi student:

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE STOPPED BY POLICE, IMMIGRATION AGENTS OR THE FBI(Download»)

YOUR RIGHTS
– You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
– You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.
– If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
– You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.
– Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES
– Do stay calm and be polite.
– Do not interfere with or obstruct the police.
– Do not lie or give false documents.
– Do prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested.
– Do remember the details of the encounter.
– Do file a written complaint or call your local ACLU if you feel your rights have been violated.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Your support helps the ACLU defend immigrants’ rights and other civil liberties.

GIVE NOW

 

If You Are

…Stopped For Questioning

…Stopped In Your Car

…Questioned About Your Immigration Status

…Approached By Police Or Immigration Agents at Home

…Contacted By The FBI

…Arrested

…Taken Into Immigration (Or “ICE”) Custody

If You Feel Your Rights Have Been Violated

IF YOU ARE STOPPED FOR QUESTIONING
Stay calm. Don’t run. Don’t argue, resist or obstruct the police, even if you are innocent or police are violating your rights. Keep your hands where police can see them.
Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away. If you are under arrest, you have a right to know why.
You have the right to remain silent and cannot be punished for refusing to answer questions. If you wish to remain silent, tell the officer out loud. In some states, you must give your name if asked to identify yourself.
You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but police may “pat down” your clothing if they suspect a weapon. You should not physically resist, but you have the right to refuse consent for any further search. If you do consent, it can affect you later in court.

IF YOU ARE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR
Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible. Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window part way and place your hands on the wheel.
Upon request, show police your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.
If an officer or immigration agent asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search. But if police believe your car contains evidence of a crime, your car can be searched without your consent.
Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent. If you are a passenger, you can ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, sit silently or calmly leave. Even if the officer says no, you have the right to remain silent.

IF YOU ARE QUESTIONED ABOUT YOUR IMMIGRATION STATUS
You have the right to remain silent and do not have to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents or any other officials. You do not have to answer questions about where you were born, whether you are a U.S. citizen, or how you entered the country. (Separate rules apply at international borders and airports, and for individuals on certain nonimmigrant visas, including tourists and business travelers.)
If you are not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your immigration papers, you must show them if you have them with you. If you are over 18, carry your immigration documents with you at all times. If you do not have immigration papers, say you want to remain silent.
Do not lie about your citizenship status or provide fake documents.

IF THE POLICE OR IMMIGRATION AGENTS COME TO YOUR HOME
If the police or immigration agents come to your home, you do not have to let them in unless they have certain kinds of warrants.
Ask the officer to slip the warrant under the door or hold it up to the window so you can inspect it. A search warrant allows police to enter the address listed on the warrant, but officers can only search the areas and for the items listed. An arrest warrant allows police to enter the home of the person listed on the warrant if they believe the person is inside. A warrant of removal/deportation (ICE warrant) does not allow officers to enter a home without consent.
Even if officers have a warrant, you have the right to remain silent. If you choose to speak to the officers, step outside and close the door.

IF YOU ARE CONTACTED BY THE FBI
If an FBI agent comes to your home or workplace, you do not have to answer any questions. Tell the agent you want to speak to a lawyer first.
If you are asked to meet with FBI agents for an interview, you have the right to say you do not want to be interviewed. If you agree to an interview,have a lawyer present. You do not have to answer any questions you feel uncomfortable answering, and can say that you will only answer questions on a specific topic.

IF YOU ARE ARRESTED
Do not resist arrest, even if you believe the arrest is unfair.
Say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t give any explanations or excuses. If you can’t pay for a lawyer, you have the right to a free one. Don’t say anything, sign anything or make any decisions without a lawyer.
You have the right to make a local phone call. The police cannot listen if you call a lawyer.
Prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested. Memorize the phone numbers of your family and your lawyer. Make emergency plans if you have children or take medication.
Special considerations for non-citizens:
– Ask your lawyer about the effect of a criminal conviction or plea on your immigration status.
– Don’t discuss your immigration status with anyone but your lawyer.
– While you are in jail, an immigration agent may visit you. Do not answer questions or sign anything before talking to a lawyer.
– Read all papers fully. If you do not understand or cannot read the papers, tell the officer you need an interpreter.

IF YOU ARE TAKEN INTO IMMIGRATION (OR “ICE”) CUSTODY
You have the right to a lawyer, but the government does not have to provide one for you. If you do not have a lawyer, ask for a list of free or low-cost legal services.
You have the right to contact your consulate or have an officer inform the consulate of your arrest.
Tell the ICE agent you wish to remain silent. Do not discuss your immigration status with anyone but your lawyer.
Do not sign anything, such as a voluntary departure or stipulated removal, without talking to a lawyer. If you sign, you may be giving up your opportunity to try to stay in the U.S.
Remember your immigration number (“A” number) and give it to your family. It will help family members locate you.
Keep a copy of your immigration documents with someone you trust.

IF YOU FEEL YOUR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED
Remember: police misconduct cannot be challenged on the street.Don’t physically resist officers or threaten to file a complaint.
Write down everything you remember, including officers’ badge and patrol car numbers, which agency the officers were from, and any other details. Get contact information for witnesses. If you are injured, take photographs of your injuries (but seek medical attention first).
File a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board. In most cases, you can file a complaint anonymously if you wish.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,132 other followers

%d bloggers like this: