Via Arab News: King: ‘Media mustn’t influence public opinion negatively’. Excerpt:
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah reiterated the role of the media in promoting peace and stability across the world during the three-day Asia Media Summit 2014, which was inaugurated here on Tuesday.
“We hope this summit will strengthen media cooperation between Asian countries,” said the king in his keynote speech, which was read out by Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja.
King Abdullah reminded media personalities of their responsibility in disseminating accurate information and appealed to them to propagate sound ideas that encourage reconciliation and harmony.
“The message of Islam, which originated from this country, insists that good words should be the basis for disseminating noble values to improve human behavior in order to build a better civilization,” said the king.
The king cited a Qur’anic verse to reinforce his message. “Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, (making) a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches (high) in the sky? It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord.”
The king warned against using the media to negatively influence public opinion. “Countries around the world are exposed to extraneous cultural influences that shake the foundations of humanitarian and religious values because of the dissemination of irresponsible media content,” he said. “We request that media experts use their influence constructively.”
The king exhorted the media to respect religious values and fortify the fence of morality.
Meanwhile, published today in sabq.org, a Saudi online news source: a young man who founded a "liberal network" online is being sentenced in Jeddah to 10 years in prison, one thousand lashes, and a fine of one million rials. This was an appeal court's increase of his previous sentence (only seven years and 600 lashes), which was for "establishment of the accused network liberal; as well as the adoption of liberal thought, and evidence of insulting Islam, after the court ruled at the time to drop the apostasy of the accused, with the release of the decision to close the liberal network on the Internet."