Saudi ministry to launch new media center for Hajj coverage

Over 250 journalists and reporters participated in covering the Hajj rituals this year

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A new media center will be set up in the Holy Sites next year to increase the number of foreign journalists covering the Hajj, Dr. Adel Al-Turaifi, Minister of Culture and Information, has said.

The Persian-speaking Channel ‘Farsi’, which started broadcasting this year for the first time, has not been created to fight or attack anyone, said Al-Turaifi. Its main aim is to cover the Hajj activities going on the ground in Persian language and cover the speech of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, press conferences held by security or health authorities and any Hajj-related activities.

The Arafat sermon was covered by 70 Arab and foreign channels. Over 250 journalists and reporters participated in covering the Hajj rituals, he said, stressing that the live coverage on the ground presented by 1,000 reporters was successful, thanking the reporters for transmitting the true image of Hajj to the entire world.

“A number of foreign newspapers covered the Hajj season with balance reports and presented the positive image of Hajj, unlike the previous years. No doubt that the reporters, Saudi and non-Saudi, played a role in broadcasting the stories that reflect the true image of Islam and the spirituality associated with Hajj,” he said.

Saudi King Salman directed all pertinent ministries, specifically the Ministry of Culture and Information, to exert efforts to reflect the true meaning of Hajj and make this year’s pilgrimage a special one.

“The Farsi Channel translated many things from Arabic into Persian including news and sent out a clear massage that the Kingdom does not have any problems with Iranian pilgrims and that the government welcomes Iranian pilgrims from all over the world. We did not ban pilgrims but the Iranian leadership and Revolutionary Guards did. However, they do not constitute the majority of Iranians as a number of Shiite scholars issued fatwas calling upon Iranians to perform the Hajj,” he said.

This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on Sept. 15, 2016.

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