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RIYADH: Over the past few days Arab News has won three new design awards – taking its total tally up to 76 since its relaunch in 2018.
The latest awards that have come through are the Digital Award of Excellence for the UNESCO Deep Dive and the Print Award of Excellence for the Opinion year end illustration at the 2022 Society for News Design (SND 43rd Edition); as well as an Award of Excellence for the UNESCO Spotlight at the 2022 Asian Newspaper Design Awards.  
It also won Best in Newspaper Front Page Design for its ‘9/11 – 20 years later’ special coverage and Best in Newspaper Infographics for its ‘NEOM – Ocean X’ Spotlight at the 2021 WAN-IFRA Asian Media Awards.
The UNESCO Deep Dive and its complementary Spotlight take a look at Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage sites and their importance not just for the kingdom, but for the world. Through its interactive graphics and detailed structure, it transports the reader to the very sites themselves.
As for the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Arab News asked journalists and editors from the Middle East or working there to recount their memory from one of the darkest days in modern history. With NEOM – Ocean X, a figurative dive into the deep aquatic layers of what lies beneath the sea where the futuristic megacity will lie.
Arab News relaunched in 2018 with a commitment to become digital-first and design-focused. The new brand identity was reflected in its cutting-edge editorial and fresh design approach. 
Jad Bitar, Brand Manager of Arab News, said: “I am extremely proud of Arab News’ creative team, and the recognition we have received on the global stage.”
“It was our Editor in Chief’s vision to turn Arab News into a more globally recognized brand, and these awards are a testament to that and the hard work and creativity of the team,” he added.
Last year, the Society of Publication Designers (SPD) awarded Arab News with a silver medal for Video Animation – Arabic Calligraphy and a Merit award for Web Custom Feature Design – Arabic Calligraphy.
Arab News also won a record nine awards in SND’s News Design Competition, which honors journalistic, visual and technical excellence in news media. Among the awarded works were the Saudi Cup Front Cover of February 2020, the Japan Calligraphy Cover of January 2020, the Beirut Blast graphic of August 2020 and the timely History of Pandemics Graphic of April 2020.
It also won three awards at the WAN-IFRA Asian Media Awards 2021 including a Bronze in the Newspaper Front Page Design category for its “Kingdom vs COVID-19” cover.
Over the years, Arab News has been honored by multiple international awards programs including the Indigo Design Awards, the Newspaper Design Competition, the Creative Communication Awards, and the European Newspaper Awards.

The trophies are reflective of Arab News’ commitment to design and the creativity and leadership of its creative director, Simon Khalil.
Khalil said: “Receiving so much recognition for the design at Arab News is something we are all very proud of. Winning 76 design awards since relaunch is an incredible achievement and it reinforces the creative vision we have at Arab News.”
“Our mission is to inform and delight our readers around the world and these awards push the whole team to be innovative with the design we deliver.” 
He added: “Design awards help raise the brand recognition of Arab News globally and each award inspires the creative team to raise the bar even higher and deliver even more creative work for our readers.”
Arab News’ winning work can be viewed by clicking here.
RIYADH​: The Saudi Research & Media Group (SRMG), today announced its new headquarters in the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), the new global center for business and commerce in the capital, Riyadh. The announcement of the new headquarters comes in line with the growth and expansion strategy announced by the Group last year, which aims to cement its leadership position in the media sector in the region, redefine the regional media landscape and support its efforts to become one of the key leading media groups globally. The move lays the foundation for a global creative media hub in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that brings together the most prominent media, technology and content companies.
The new state-of-the-art headquarters will allow the group to meet the aspirations of millions of readers, viewers, and followers from across the globe monthly. The new environment, which will feature market-leading digital technologies and data capabilities, will enable the group to foster stronger integration and optimize synergies between the Group’s businesses and talent, and support the development and digitization of its media platforms. It will also enable the Group to enter new fields such as events, conferences, exhibitions, and book publishing, as well as support the Group’s research and polling capabilities.
The new headquarters will house the Group’s various media platforms and businesses under one roof including: “Asharq Al-Awsat”; Asharq network which includes “Asharq News” and “Asharq Business with Bloomberg”, “Arab News”, “Independent Arabia,” “Argaam”, “Manga Arabia”, “Sayidaty” and “Hia” magazines, as well as the Group’s businesses: SRMG Media, SRMG X and SRMG Think, ultimately leading to the establishment of a thriving creative media hub at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD). The Group’s integration will also strengthen its position as a preferred media partner, and builds on the success of its existing partnerships with leading institutions such as Bloomberg and The Independent.
The new headquarters in the capital, Riyadh, marks the beginning of the Group’s global expansion, including that of Asharq network and its platforms “Asharq News” and “Asharq Business with Bloomberg”, with plans to establish several global offices in Washington and Singapore, in addition to its current offices in London and Dubai. In addition, the Group will employ top-of-the-line studio technologies with data-based capabilities, including social media, podcast and virtual reality studios, and introduce new content offerings such as cultural and scientific documentaries, supporting the Group’s legacy as a trusted source of news and information.
Commenting on the announcement, Chief Executive Officer of SRMG, Jomana Al-Rashid, said: “Our vision for the new headquarters is to drive the creation of a global creative media hub at KAFD in particular and in the city of Riyadh in general. The Group’s headquarters will attract creative talent and provide numerous career opportunities across more than 30 media platforms in all disciplines and fields, including content creation, journalism, production, directing, writing, event management and more. SRMG will also serve as an incubator for entrepreneurs by offering investment and strategic support, and facilitate new business opportunities underpinned by the latest technologies in connectivity, communication, and data analysis, which will ultimately lead to a great positive impact on the Group mainly and the wider media sector”.
“The King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is considered an architectural masterpiece, characterised by the integration of its services and its pivotal location, all of which are success factors to attract the greatest talents and produce creative work” added Al-Rashid.
Gautam Sashittal, CEO of King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), said: “The establishment of the headquarters in KAFD for the most prominent regional media group is an important step in our development as a premium business and lifestyle destination in the region. The presence of the new headquarters of the Saudi Research and Media Group will contribute to enriching the business environment within KAFD, in addition to its contribution to attracting talent and stimulating growth and expansion. We welcome SRMG to KAFD; together we will support the Kingdom’s future as a knowledge and information-based economy.”
The King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is set to host the headquarters of many international companies and serve as the center of the Kingdom’s digital economy. SRMG’s new headquarters is located in the fourth district at KAFD and will consists of 10 floors to accommodate around 1,200 employees. The interior spaces of the new headquarters, to which the Group will gradually move, are designed to encourage cross-collaboration, and provide an interactive working environment.
PARIS: One of France’s leading newspapers, Le Monde, launched its first English-language digital edition on Thursday with articles translated in part by artificial intelligence.
The paper said it would start releasing a large range of English-language content as part of a mission to double its subscriber base to one million by 2025.
The articles will be primarily translations of its French articles done “by international agencies, with the help of an artificial intelligence tool,” though editing would be in the hands of English-speaking journalists.
“The challenge is an ambitious one: to carve out a place for Le Monde in an English-speaking world where there is no shortage of quality media,” the paper said in a statement.
A selection of the articles will be free, but most will be behind a paywall, in keeping with the French edition’s model.
The paper had considered launching an English edition several years ago, it said, but instead opted to deepen its reach in the French-speaking world, launching Le Monde Afrique in 2015.
DUBAI: Hackers aligned with Russia broke into the social media accounts of dozens of Ukrainian military officers and were working to upload videos of defeated and surrendering Ukrainian soldiers when the plot was disrupted.
This is according to a report from Meta that details a troubling increase in social media disinformation this year.
The report from the owner of Facebook and Instagram found a surge in content linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as an uptick in domestic disinformation and propaganda in countries around the world, suggesting that tactics pioneered by foreign intelligence agencies are now being used more widely.
“While much of the public attention in recent years has been focused on foreign interference, domestic threats are on the rise globally,” said Nick Clegg, Meta’s president for global affairs and a former British deputy prime minister.
Russia and its allies are major players, according to the report, with groups linked to the Kremlin spreading disinformation about its invasion of Ukraine while amplifying pro-Russian conspiracy theories at home.
Meta traced the effort to take over the social media accounts of dozens of Ukrainian military leaders back to a shadowy hacker organization known as Ghostwriter, which previous research has linked to Belarus, a Russian ally. Ghostwriter has a history of spreading content critical of NATO, and also has tried to hack email accounts.
“This is a tried-and-true thing that they do,” said Ben Read, director of cyberespionage analysis at Mandiant, a prominent US cybersecurity firm that has tracked Ghostwriter’s activities for years. Last year Mandiant said digital clues suggested the hackers were based in Belarus, though EU officials have previously blamed Russia.
Belarus and Russia have not responded to the claims.
Meta outlined other disinformation campaigns tied to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including one involving dozens of fake accounts that spread anti-Ukrainian rhetoric. Another network filed thousands of fake complaints about Ukrainian Facebook users in an effort to get them kicked off the platform. That network hid its activities in a Facebook group supposedly dedicated to cooking.
Within Russia, the Kremlin has blocked hundreds of news sources and websites, including Facebook and Twitter, and threatened jail time to anyone who tries to report on the war. In the place of accurate journalism, the state-controlled media have pumped out discredited conspiracy theories about Ukrainian Nazis or secret US bioweapon labs.
Meta and other big tech companies have responded by removing or restricting Russian state-run media, by targeting disinformation networks and by labeling content it does not remove. Twitter this week announced it would also label state-controlled media from Belarus.
The prevalence of Russian-linked propaganda and disinformation on social media shows that a more aggressive response is needed, according to the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a London-based nonprofit that supports greater social media regulation. A study by the group found numerous Facebook mentions of Russia’s discredited bioweapon conspiracy theory.
“Despite taking action against state channels under enormous pressure, Meta is failing badly to contain major disinformation narratives that benefit Putin’s regime,” said Imran Ahmed, the center’s CEO.
Meta said it would be rolling out additional policies in the coming weeks and months to make sure it stays ahead of groups looking to exploit its platforms. Nathaniel Gleicher, Meta’s head of security policy, noted that groups looking to spread disinformation and propaganda are adapting their tactics too.
“We would expect them to keep coming back,” Gleicher said.
Meta Platforms Inc. on Wednesday suspended a network of over 400 accounts, pages and groups ahead of general elections in the Philippines as the Facebook parent moves to crack down hate speech and misinformation.
Concerns about online hate speech have increased as candidates and supporters increasingly turn to social media for the May 9 election against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic disrupting traditional campaign methods.
Last month, the country’s presidential candidates had pressed on the need to hold social media companies liable for the spread of misinformation.
Meta said in a blog post on Wednesday that advertisers in the Philippines will have to complete its ad authorizations process and include ‘Paid for by’ disclaimers on ads about elections, politics and certain categories of social issues.
The move by Meta comes after it last month changed its stance in Ukraine that temporarily allowed calls for violence and narrowed its content moderation policy to prohibit calls for the death of a head of state.
DUBAI: TikTok has launched a campaign that aims to encapsulate the spirit of the holy month through a host of content, creator opportunities, hashtags and corporate social responsibility initiatives.
After video views grew by 21 percent and engagement by 22 percent in 2021, the platform aims to position itself as the premier regional entertainment hub during Ramadan.
“Ramadan has always been a significant cultural moment within our region and one of great importance to families and friends, as they take time to come together and reflect over shared values and moments,” said Hany Kamel, content operations director at TikTok MENA.
“As a facilitator of one of the largest and most engaged online communities in the region and beyond, we wanted to deliver on this in a way that not only entertains but also educates, empowers and builds a more digitally responsible generation.”
The campaign focuses on four key Ramadan values: kindness, togetherness, tolerance and giving.
One of the initiatives features the Arabic language hashtag “#صناع_البهجة” — which translates as “makers of joy. It challenges content creators and users to take to the streets in search of people who will give them a fist bump on camera. Passers-by who do so are rewarded with a hidden, Ramadan-themed gift concealed in the bumped hand.
Another hashtag, #StitchKindness, celebrates everyday, unsung heroes by highlighting small acts of kindness. This effort is led by renowned Egyptian actress and model Nelly Karim, along with influencers Mohammed Sweidan in the UAE and Rand Majali in Saudi Arabia.
TikTok is celebrating the idea of togetherness through the use of several hashtags, including: #RamadanTableLive, which features daily live content from experts designed to inspire iftar menus; #HealthyRamadanLive, which includes information and advice from nutritionists and fitness experts, along with Q&A sessions and exercise sessions; #RamadanStories, in which storytellers share tales of history and personal development; and #RamadanReviews for discussions of the latest Ramadan TV shows.
TikTok said it will also continue to tackle issues of online safety and privacy through video content focusing on how to tackle bullying in digital spaces. The platform added that it will work with partners across the region — online and off — to give back to the community.

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