Media and Crisis Conference

King Khalid University - Media Center


The participants at the 'Crisis and the Media' conference (previously reported) announced their findings and recommendations. First, the team recommended the establishment of a national media crisis center. Its purpose would be to monitor critical events, prepare for a variety of possible crisis development scenarios and respond to actual crises through a centralized, media-savvy group of professionals. The center could also educate and train public and private individuals and institutions on the fundamentals of crisis management and media relations.


The conference committee also recommended the publication of a crisis management field guide. This publication would document principles of emergency management and provide guidance on response procedures and practices. The field guide would also include data analysis, case studies and expert recommendations on decision analysis focusing on statistics.

King Khalid University - Media Center


Five researchers presented research papers at the 'Crisis and the Media' conference. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the role of the media in creating, mitigating or exacerbating international crises.


Deputy editor of the Al Ashram newspaper, Dr. Samya Abu Al-Naser, presented a paper titled 'Media and Crisis'. Dr. Naser stressed the importance of awareness of emergency situations. In theor,y the media should present facts. However, many international media outlets seem to have a penchant for mismanagement, misunderstanding, misjudgment, bias and conflicts of interest in much of their reporting. Many outlets have lost credibility with the public. These international organizations should be striving to improve credibility, but many are doing a poor job.


Dr. Naser also pointed out that the public plays a role in media disinformation. Many people comment on social media, blogs and the like. A fair number of these individuals are 'trolls'. That is they comment using false or anonymous names. They deliberately try to support or undermine the author for their own selfish purposes. Many try to change or shape the narrative for their own reasons notwithstanding facts. These trolls are responsible for creating and spreading a large volume of fake news.


Dr. Salami Asaadani of the university Department of Media and Communication presented a joint paper with Dr. Laila Nasir Fakiri from the Department of Information titled 'Communication Strategies in Managing Economic Crises'. In their research, they addressed the main causes of socioeconomic crises, namely cultural misunderstanding and abuse of authority. The authors briefed the audience on strategies to prevent and mitigate crisis situations.


The researchers pointed out the inadequacy of the most prevalent crisis management strategies. Many leaders simply and falsely deny that there is a problem. This is usually a losing proposition as the truth ultimately gets revealed, thus undermining the speaker’s credibility. Another losing strategy is to falsely minimize the severity of the situation. Again, this destroys credibility as the truth comes out. The researchers concluded that careful analysis and truthful communications is almost always the best way forward. Lying or 'spinning' the facts just makes a bad situation worse


Dr. Asaadani presented a companion research paper titled 'The Science of Crisis Management'. His research explores the various approaches in crisis management including comparative, historical and analytical strategies. He compared and contrasted the roles of each approach in modern media.


Dr. Kashif Jamal from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India presented a paper on the underlying reasons for international security crises. He discussed the political, economic, societal, ideological and environmental causes for crisis level situations at the international level. Dr. Jamal also reviewed descriptive, analytical and historical methods of analyzing crises. He also discussed the critical role that media and security services play in crisis situations. Popular media has a great influence on public opinion, which in turn can greatly impact government action. Rumors, innuendo, misleading or incomplete information can lead to clouded judgment and poor decision making.


Dr. Anas Al-Qarawi from the university Department of Media and Communication presented the final paper titled 'Crisis Management Strategies: Towards Further Development of Preventive and Predictive Techniques'. He discussed the various major causes of international crises such as mismanagement, miscommunication, rumors, and mistrust. He also reviewed the stages of a crisis, and the importance of building a solid crisis management team that is trained and prepared to respond to an emergency quickly and effectively. This is an important element of responding to crises both large and small.

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King Khalid University - Media Center


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'.


During the conference, His Royal Highness identified the numerous roles of media regarding how to effectively handle social crises. He thanked King Khalid University for organizing the conference, which will serve the community. He maintained that King Khalid University is home to extraordinary faculty and staff, noting that the outcomes of this conference will certainly help the Kingdom.


King Khalid University Rector, His Excellency Prof. Falleh Al-Solamy, welcomed His Royal Highness and guests. 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'.


His Royal Highness Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud: 'What the university offers is a representation of what it holds and stands for'.


Scientific Committee advisor and head of the Media and Communication department, Dr. Ali bin Shuwail Al-Qarni, thanked His Royal Highness for his generous sponsorship, explaining that this conference was chosen because of the critical importance of strategies for engaging with the media in crisis management. 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. He also pointed out that the number of abstracts submitted to the conference reached 400, but after the committee decision, 50 papers were selected representing 15 different nationalities.


Regarding the history of the Department of Media and Communication at the Faculty of Humanities at King Khalid University, Al-Qarni explained that the department was established 6 years ago, and in a short period has managed to organize three international conferences.


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.

The Inauguration of the Media and Crisis Conference
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