His Royal Highness, Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of the Asir Region, sponsored the 3rd annual 'Crisis and the Media' conference at the Abha Palace hotel during the 13-14 of Rajab 1440. King Khalid University Rector, His Excellency Prof. Falleh Al-Solamy, conducted the ceremony on behalf of King Khalid University. The purpose of this international conference was to discuss the various roles of the media with respect to large-scale political, geopolitical, economic and social crises. The University Media and Communication department organized the event. In the two preceding years, the media department sponsored similar international conferences on 'Media & Rumors' and 'Media & Terrorism'.
In his opening remarks, the Rector thanked His Royal Highness for his patronage and support of the conference. He also thanked all of the organizers and participants. The Rector opined that 'The international media has tremendous power and can greatly influence, or even create, significant world events. We must be prepared to engage with and respond to the international media under many different circumstances'.
The conference included a multitude of topics such as:
- The international media's power to create or exacerbate crises;
- The international media's power to avoid or mitigate crises;
- The international media's penchant for misinformation/disinformation in crises;
- Strategies for engaging with the media in crisis management.
Scientific Committee advisor and head of the Media and Communication department, Dr. Ali bin Shuwail Al-Qarni, explained that the foregoing topics are of critical importance to most every national government and major organization today. The international media landscape is broad and vast. Information proffered in many outlets is often incomplete, misleading or even false. In many parts of the world, journalism is a failing profession. Many so-called 'journalists' are really agenda driven activists, and others are simply incompetent. Dr. Al-Qarni noted that journalistic malfeasance significantly affects political, economic and social events throughout the world. Therefore, it is critical to engage with the international media to prevent or mitigate adverse consequences of misconduct.
More than 60 people representing 15 nationalities participated in the conference. In attendance were a variety of academics, Asir region government representatives and members of the domestic media. There were 10 scientific sessions and 2 panel discussions.