Source: King Khalid University - Media Center
The General Administration of Media and Communication recently organized an online workshop entitled "Crisis Management: COVID-19 as an Example". The workshop, delivered by Prof. Ali bin Shuwail Al-Qarni, was well received with 1,900 participants.
Director of the Administration of Media and Communication, Sarah Al-Qahtani, moderated the workshop as it moved through examples from around the world on COVID-19 crisis management, the scientific foundations of media crisis management, media portrayals of COVID-19, and media strategies employed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Of note, a deep dive into the reactions of information overload was presented.
Prof. Al-Qarni explained that the workshop aimed to introduce crisis management and provide a comparative analysis of the road map used in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the world. He related that it is important not to engage in sensationalism, noting that this type of tactic is always at the expense of accuracy.
During the workshop, Prof. Al-Qarni explained that a crisis on this scale can reorder society in dramatic ways, and it is normal for the effects to be long-lasting on both the economy and world politics. He also said that this crisis distinguished the role of "The White Army" or "The New Experts", which are terms that refer to the medical employees whose role has been clear and compelling. He praised their role and stressed the importance of collaborating with them. "As the world grapples with COVID-19, the Ministry of Health has done a great job in its preparedness and capacity to address the spread of coronavirus within the Kingdom. We should listen to all instructions and messages," said Prof. Al-Qarni. On the topic of media delivery, it was explained that educating the community on the field of public information is critical to awareness. He also addressed the responsibilities of both the sender and receiver in the context of media. Prof. Al-Qarni viewed the characteristics of COVID-19 media coverage from countries around the world, saying that "the most prominent feature of COVID-19 media coverage around the world is the fact that the infected are neglected."
Considering the importance of having an official media arm to make decisions, organize efforts, and manage the crisis, Prof. Al-Qarni commended the actions of the Emirate of Asir in establishing a "Coronavirus Crisis Management Operations Room," highlighting that this was bolstered by effective social media presence in the Emirate of Asir YouTube channel that hosted several leading officials in the Kingdom. He then maintained that His Royal Highness, Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of the Asir Region, adopted a scientific and methodological approach in dealing with this crisis and recognizing the unsung heroes of the Kingdom.
Media Center Director, University Spokesperson, Dr. Mufleh Al-Qahtani, confirmed that this workshop was held contemporaneously with this crisis to introduce the appropriate mechanisms in media crisis management, noting that it also served to develop the skills of media professionals and train students.