Arabian Peninsula

By Al-Arian, Laila | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January/February 2004 | Go to article overview

Arabian Peninsula


Al-Arian, Laila, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Arab, Western Journalists Debate At Media Summit in Dubai

In its coverage of the Iraq war, the Arab media was more objective than the Western media, Jihad Al-Khazen, a writer with AlHayat newspaper, told a group of fellow reporters during the second day of the Arab Media Summit held in Dubai. According to the Oct. 9 Saudi Gazette, Al-Khazen's statement generated a heated discussion among the rest of the panel, which was discussing "Iraq as a case Study: Western Media Coverage." In response to Al-Khazen's bold assertion, the BBC's Clive Myrie said the issue should not be reduced to a contest between the Arab and Western media. "We are all involved in getting to the truth," he said, "and that is what we should be doing." Retorted Egyptian television presenter Hamdi Qandeel, "I would like to ask Western journalists, and especially the Americans, to stop giving us lessons in freedom of the press." The two-day conference, which featured journalists from all over the West and the Middle East, aimed at finding common ground between the two worlds after the war in Iraq.

Al-Jazeera Anchorwoman Dons Hijab

Something was different about Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera reporter Khadija Ben Ganna a day before the Muslim holiday Eid Al-Fitr. After speaking with Egyptian Islamic preacher Omar Abdul Kafi, a guest on the Al-Jazeera show "Sharia and Life," the popular journalist decided to begin wearing a veil. According to a Nov. 26 AFP report, Al-Jazeera was flooded with phone calls about Ben Ganna, as she appeared on the air wrapped in a bright salmon hijab, or veil. Ben Ganna said she did not face any pressure from the channel's management concerning her decision. "The board of directors' view was that it was a personal matter that would only be evaluated on a professional basis," she told the AFP, adding that she had worn the hijab in her screen tests two years ago, but had hesitated to wear it on the air. Islamic programs are not uncommon on the Qatar-based network.

Saudi Foreign Labor Cut 30 Percent

The number of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia will be reduced by 30 percent over the next three years, as part of a Saudization program that will begin next year, the Nov. 5. Saudi Gazette reported. Twenty-five business sectors will be now be limited to Saudi nationals, including clothing retailers, toy stores and mobile telephone companies. According to Hamad Bin Abdullah Al-Hudaithi, director of the Riyadh Labor Office, the program will create more opportunities for young unemployed Saudis with little or no educational training. …

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