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MENAFN - Arab News - 22/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) Twenty-five female journalists from the member counties of the GCC came together to discuss problems they face when working in the field. The discussion was part of the Gulf Female Journalists Forum that was held in Kuwait on Sunday.

The forum was organized by the Gulf Press Association (GPA) and the Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA).

The journalists were chosen by their editors in chief from Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia had six women - the highest turnout from one country.

On the first day of the forum, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Information Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah met with journalists and said that this forum was aimed at helping GCC female journalists exchange experiences and become acquainted with one another. "It is an opportunity for them to discuss their concerns and to establish a common meeting point. It is important for us in the ministry to be aware of the obstacles faced by the media today and to try to find solutions for them," he said. "I am very impressed to see the sheer number of Saudi professional journalists. They are intelligent and ambitious individuals and I hope this sets a precedent for future liaisons," he added.

Commenting on social media, Al-Sabah said that there should be a list of rules and regulations for GCC publications and journalists on how to use it when and why.

Gulf Press Association Chairman and Editor in Chief of Al-Riyadh newspaper Turki Al-Sudairi expressed his disappointment that not all female journalists could make it to Kuwait this time. "This forum was not held to expose the reality of work as a profession but the reality of the responsibility of this profession. We care to have media that knows the work nature in Arab and GCC countries," he said. "Journalists have a major role in protecting the community and maintain the general framework of the Gulf reality and that conscious countries such as China and India is successful due to having great media and press that is constantly working on protecting their community," he added.

In the same session, the GCC journalists had the chance to introduce themselves and state their own concerns and the problems they face when working in the field. "I believe obstacles is what makes one succeed in their career, my number one obstacle was my family who stood strongly against me working as a journalist but my achievements made them now proud and happy with my work," said Nawal Al-Rashid, Saudi managing editor of Al-Riyadh newspaper. "I have been a journalist for 15 years now and one of the problems I am facing now is that it is not the same as it used to be. When I started we didn't have contracts, salary, business cards or even media IDs but now we do," she added.

"I believe that the new comers to the media do not know the difference between a journalist who roams the streets to come back with an exclusive article and the one who stays in the office and uses her phone to write a piece," said Al-Rashid. "Publications should give more credit and higher tittle to those who sometimes jeopardize their life to come up with a good feature or investigative report," she added.

On the second day, journalist met with Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah at the Saif Palace where he expressed his confidence in the Gulf media and whoever is supporting it. He also praised the success of the GCC women in this field and the role they are playing to serve their country and he stressed the importance of supporting them and helping them reflect and deliver the truth.

The journalists also met with Kuwait's Minister of Information and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah who stressed the importance of holding such meetings in all GCC countries so everyone would benefit from this experience.

At the closing session, media team members expressed their needs which included a database that includes all journalist contacts from GCC publications to help them communicate and strengthen their stories. They also asked for more forums to enrich the journalist's arena and to serve the Gulf press.

The forum was the first of its kind and journalists who attended hoped that such an assembly would continue in the coming years.

 






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