Saudi Arabia is planning to set up public relations hubs in Europe and Asia as part of a new offensive to counter negative media coverage of the kingdom. The conservative kingdom has for years struggled to improve its image in the west. It has been accused of promoting an extreme form of Islam and been criticized for its treatment of women, who are banned from driving, and alleged human rights abuses.
Saudi Arabia is also one of four Arab states that have imposed an embargo on Qatar, triggering the Gulf’s worst diplomatic crisis in decades. A pollster says private surveys in Europe indicate that Saudi Arabia’s image has been tarnished by its perceived bullying of Qatar and its military intervention in
The bid to improve the kingdom’s standing is part of Prince Mohammed’s ambitious reform agenda that is intended to modernise the economy, attract foreign investment and reduce its dependence on oil. Saudi Arabia is redrafting the centrepiece of its reform agenda, the National Transformation Plan, in a move that suggests Riyadh may have decided some of the objectives were overly ambitious.
The Saudi information ministry could set up “hubs” in London, Berlin, Paris and Moscow as early as this month, according to a document. The goal is “to promote the changing face of KSA to the rest of the world and to improve international perception of the kingdom”, the document says.
Source Credit: Financial Times
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