Saudi journalists have elected nine members to the board of the Saudi Journalists Association (SJA) including two women: Nawal al-Rashed, head of the women’s department at Al-Riyadh daily newspaper and Nahid Bashateh, a journalist, also with Al-Riyadh. The election, in which more than 300 journalists took part, was held at Riyadh’s Saud Al-Babtain Center for Heritage and Culture on June 7, 2004.
According to Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan: “The establishment of this association is part of an ongoing comprehensive agenda for reform that aims to increase political participation and build the foundations for civil society in the Kingdom.”
The Saudi Journalists’ Association was set up on February 24, 2003 to protect the rights of journalists in the Kingdom and coordinate their relations with the media establishment. This year, the Consultative Council urged the Ministry of Culture and Information to encourage greater freedom of expression in the Saudi media and to open up opportunities for investment in journalism to the Kingdom’s private sector.