Okaz: Six decades of shining media work


Majed Al-Qasabi

Acting Minister of Media

The celebration of the 60 years of the foundation of Okaz newspaper takes me down memory lane to the period when the media industry was just starting to emerge and flourish in the Kingdom.

Nearly 100 years ago, Saudi Arabia’s first newspaper “Umm Al-Qura” was launched by King Abdul Aziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, in 1924 (1343 Hijri).

Apart from performing the role of media, the founder’s idea was that the newspaper would also be a basic and reliable reference and source for everyone who desires to learn about the features of culture, thought, literature and history of the Saudi state since its inception.

His sons — the Kings who succeeded him — continued this noble trait of taking care of the media and supporting the press, especially in the era of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense.

While recollecting the bright history of Okaz newspaper, we note that it was the brain child of Ahmed Abdul Ghafoor Attar, who launched it in 1960 from Taif, before moving to Jeddah, where he accomplished his dream of cherishing the ancient past, as its name reflects, and building a shining future for the newspaper that crosses geographical borders in its name and fame.

The dream came true and its fruitful benevolence continued to produce the best outcome thanks to the dynamic leadership represented by the heads of boards of directors and editors in chief, and may God have mercy on those who have passed away and may He bestow health and well-being for those who are alive.

Okaz disseminates the voice of the nation to the world through its Arabic edition and its sister English newspaper Saudi Gazette. The newspaper witnessed a distinct Arab presence and a clear impact on the media industry at the local, regional and global arenas.

Indeed, Okaz celebrates its sixth decade as the oldest Arab and international newspaper, withstanding the fierce competition generated by the information technology revolution, of which the major feature is the emergence of diverse and multiple media outlets.

Okaz has succeeded in adopting professional ethics and its commitment to transparency and credibility.

This auspicious occasion demands from us more attention and keenness in shouldering great responsibility by the media in general and newspapers in particular.

This is because journalism is the basic incubator for the media industry, as well as for writers, innovators, intellectuals and thinkers who supply various media outlets with cultural, intellectual, political and economic inputs in various fields of knowledge.

Before concluding, on behalf of my colleagues in the Ministry of Media and myself, I am pleased to extend sincere congratulations to Okaz on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of its inception.

The newspaper, which is headed by Editor-in-Chief Jameel Altheyabi, is keeping pace with an up-to-date growth in the media field as well as advancement in the print and digital media technologies.

I pray to God to enable the newspaper gain further development and growth so as to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the nation and people while continuing to remain a distinguished media outlet that reflects the image of the shining Kingdom, its moderate Islamic civilization and its robust growth and renaissance.