In its fourth session, “Tweeps Forum 2016” was organized by the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz “MiSK” Foundation at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Five GCC ministers were hosted at “Tweeps 2016” to participate in the keynote panel “An Official Tweeted..” moderated by Mr. Dawood Alsharyan.
Mr. Alsharyan posed sensitive questions to the panelists leading Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, to humorously ask him not to be as harsh as he usually is on his guests at “Althaminah” show.
In commemoration of the deceased Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Sheikh Al Nahyan tweeted that he was a brother, a friend, and a teacher. Similarly, the current Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, tweeted that he was a sincere and courageous Saudi knight.
Regarding the impact of Twitter on the Arab World, Sheikh Al Nahyan said that people should be less sensitive with others and that he avoids political tweets. As for the tweet he regretted not tweeting, he said, “I regret not tweeting about Prince Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, God rest his soul.”
He added, “I demand fighting and punishing owners of bogus accounts. Today, there are 90 thousand tweets by ISIS groups that should be fought and combatted.” Sheikh Al Nahyan also demanded freedom of tweets but away from incitement, atonement, and racism.
During the keynote panel, all ministers agreed that Twitter in the Arab World was in chaos until the Saudi Arabian-led “Decisive Storm”. Sheikh Al Nahyan pointed out that the “Decisive Storm” has proved our strength to make serious decisions regarding our issues. He added, “The Decisive Storm has shown how interdependent and integrated Gulf Countries are.”
On his part, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Bahrain, emphasized that “the Decisive Storm restored confidence and strength between us and showed that we are standing on a solid ground that preserves our rights.”
Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, the Minister of State for Defense in Qatar, said that Twitter’s bird “drove the officials crazy,” pointing out that Twitter changed numerous concepts in the Arab World and broke down all barriers, so now you can hear the public voice and they force you to respond.”
Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs in Kuwait, said that absolute freedom, if not controlled, can be “destructive”. He Added, “So, we need to be very attentive and vigilant towards what is published in social media platforms. Also, there must be a reliable source for social media platforms to avoid any chaos.”
The young generation had the lion’s share in the keynote panel with the ministers. The Minister of Foreign Affairs in United Arab Emirates tweeted about HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz stating that he is giving young people in the Gulf and Arab World a hope for a better future. He explained, “MiSK Foundation is one of the seeds planted by HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and it would not progress if he did not put so much care into it and we would not be here today.”
In turn, the Minister of State for Defense in Qatar stated that his tweets concern and support the young generation. The Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs in Kuwait described the Saudi Crown Prince, HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, as the “Prince of Arab Youth” and called the Saudi youth to contribute in the development of Saudi Arabia by fostering volunteerism.
The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, said that the young generation “Has potential, talent, and creativity, so we must give them the opportunity to contribute in shaping a different future for our societies.” The Minister of Foreign Affairs in Bahrain stated that gathering young people in a place like “MiSK Foundation”, offering them the opportunities the need, and making them feel that they are part of the future of Saudi Arabia is the greatest good done for the society.