Khoja: We’re in the age of citizen journalism

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Saudi Minister of Information Abdul Aziz Khoja.

Saudi Minister of Information Abdul Aziz Khoja.

Saudi Minister of Information Abdul Aziz Khoja said, “We are living in an age of information explosion where the role of delivering correct information has gained prominence.”

“We are witnessing a huge information revolution. Our smart phones are with us all the time and many traditional concepts in the media have been transformed,” he said.

Speaking at a forum, “Workshop for the official spokesman,” here recently, the minister said the job of the official spokesman has become more important and relevant than before, in light of the large number of media sources which may disseminate false or misleading information.

“In this age of the new media where there are many interests and conflicting agenda from a wide variety of media sources, information is likely to be distorted,” he said.

“Therefore, it was deemed necessary that a person representing official state agencies be available to communicate with the various media types and outlets, in order to represent the official agency he speaks for, about the matters and the developments that take place within its sphere,” he said.

He added that the job of the official spokesman has become very important in all parts of the world to represent official parties and speak for them. “For this reason, the Saudi council of ministers made it incumbent upon all ministries, government agencies and public organizations to have a dedicated spokesman. His job is to represent his organization and inform the media of all the news, statements, and explanations that have to do with his organization,” he added.

Media theorists, he said, have often talked about new notions, like citizen journalism.

“The citizen, long a passive recipient of the media messages, has become an essential and influential part of the message. Now major media corporations consider the citizen a news source and a free reporter who can provide them with information they have not been able to obtain themselves before,” he said.

He said the rationale behind the creation of the job of the spokesman was to inform the public and create transparency and trust between the government agency and the citizen.

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