Today, Tuesday 3/2/14346 AH, His Royal Highness Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Abdul Aziz, the Governor of Asir region opened the activities of the International Conference for Media and Rumor. The conference is organized by King Khalid University in Asir Hall, Abha Palace Hotel at 11.00 o'clock a.m.
On this occasion, The University President, Prof. Abdulrahman Hamad Aldawood stated that The Prince's patronage of the conference was an evidence of his ongoing concern and interest of all the university's events and activities. During a press conference held yesterday, Monday 2/2/1436 AH, he - the President - stressed on how this conference was necessary for the very fact that "we are living in the era of social networks, which definitely have a great role in transmitting news". About that role, the President said, "There is no doubt that we are nowadays witnessing a great evolution in social media activities and progress. Therefore, it has been our duty at King Khalid University to organize this conference, through which we hope to provide solutions for the phenomenon of widespread rumor, which threatens the communities."
Aldawood pointed out that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not immune, just like the rest of the communities that suffer from rumor widespread. He said, "We know the risks of the rumor, and the great problems it creates in society, but we will work through this conference, God willing, to find out realistic solutions by hosting experts and professionals in the media in general, and those knowledgeable on rumor, particularly regarding its causes and effects. We hope to come out with recommendations and solutions to avoid the spread of this phenomenon." He added, "I expect these recommendations will have a great and desired benefit for the Media departments and offices, not only in King Khalid University, but also in all Saudi universities." Aldawood also thanked all the committees that worked on the organization and preparation of this conference. The organization Committee was headed by the University Vice - President for the Academic and Educational Affairs, Dr. Mohammed Al-Hassoun, and the Scientific Committee, was headed by the Chairman of Media and Communication Department, Prof. Ali Shuweil Al-Qarni.
On this regard, the University Vice - President for Educational and Academic Affairs, Dr. Mohammed Al-Hassoun thanked all the organizers of the conference, through which the university seeks to fight this phenomenon. He said, "I would like to especially thank the Scientific Committee, due to its great efforts in organizing this conference, besides of course, other committees that worked hard during this period."
The Head of the Media and Communication Department, who is also the Supervisor of the Afaaq Newspaper Prof. Ali Shuweil Qarni emphasized that everything was on course, and they were well prepared for the launching of the conference. He stated, "More than 80 participants from inside and outside the Kingdom are participating in the conference, and the number of sessions will reach 12 - the opening and closing sessions inclusive." Al-Qarni also stated that the conference will organize a themed session about the role of the Saudi institutions in fighting the phenomenon of rumor.The session entitled "The role of the Saudi institutions in fighting rumor" will be headed by the Chief Editor of Al-jazerah Newspaper, Khalid Al Malik. Representatives from a number of institutions and governmental sectors from various fields will participate in the session in order to talk about their experiences with this phenomenon.
After that, a number of journalists and media professionals had the chance to ask questions. Mari Asiri from Al-Bilad Newspaper started asking: Do you consider the International Conference on Media and Rumor as an extension to annual regional conferences to discuss different issues? President Aldawood replied that based on the academic and scientific costume, conferences could not be repeated, instead themes that resulted from recommendations could be topics of future conferences, pointing out further that the university had a number of educational activities, seminars and workshops that were held weekly, focusing on various aspects of life.
Abdullah Al-Hajri, from the Al-Jazirah Newspaper asked: "What is the mechanism the university uses in following up the conference recommendations"? Persident Aldawood answered that there were recommendations issued by the Scientific Committee, and approved by the University Council. In that case, those recommendations could be directed to His Excellency the Minister of Higher Education, who would determine applying them over the universities, as well as to other related sectors outside the scope of higher education.
Mohammed Al-Serai from the News Channel asked: "What is the criteria of selecting the participants"? He also directed a question to the University Vice - President for the Academic Affairs, who is also the Head of the Organizing Committee, Dr. Mohammed Al-Hassoun: "What do you think of organizing such conferences as the region has no experience in this aspect"? Al-Hassoun answered that a number of institutions from various countries had been invited, thus making the event international in nature. He said "We have received nearly 700 requests of participation, and the Scientific Committee, as part of its duty, sorted these requests, and picked only those that had taken the lead in dealing with, and eliminating, rumor."
Saeed Mashhour, from Abha Radio asked a question about how the university was cooperating with the security authorities in that aspect. Dr.Mohammed Al-Hassoun responded saying, "Among participants are security sectors who will surely present their experiences in this aspect, adding that the university generally cooperates with all different sectors in this aspect, and is considered one of the main objective community service. Mashhour also asked about the university's consideration to the social networking sites as one of the easiest means of the rapid spread of rumor, while the university itself is exposed to such a source. He asked if that was the reason for organizing of the conference, and if there were specific classes to participate in the conference, and if so, what about the rest? President Al-dawood replied that the university, part of the community, contributes to finding out the solution of such phenomena. He said, "We all know that the university has key set goals in respect of education, scientific research and community service, and this conference includes all these goals, hence the reflective remarkable increase in students' scientific and cognitive achievement." He added, "Regarding invitations, all sectors were invited, and anyone can attend, participate, and take advantage of this conference. Students are also free to take part, so that they could gain knowledge and benefit."