Dr. Sameera Aziz, A Trailblazing Force Reshaped the Saudi Media Landscape

Saudi Arabia, April 22: In a candid conversation on a radio podcast, Dr. Sameera Aziz, a renowned Saudi media personality and the chairperson of Sameera Aziz Group of Companies, reflected on her journey marked by controversy and resilience in shaping Saudi society. Acknowledging her past challenges, Dr. Sameera Aziz emphasized her commitment to progress, attributing her vision to her training as an investigative journalist under HRH Prince Ahmed Bin Salman, the elder brother of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, showcasing her unwavering support for Vision 2030.

“Before the dawn of Vision 2030, navigating through controversies and challenges in Saudi society was a test of resilience.” Dr. Sameera Aziz remarked, underlining the transformative era ushered in by the ambitious national development agenda. She recounted her struggles within the confines of societal norms, highlighting evolution of Saudi media towards greater openness and inclusivity. Expressing gratitude towards the leadership of the King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, she affirmed the newfound empowerment of Saudi women.

Addressing a past setback involving sabotage by extremists, Dr. Sameera Aziz noted a shift in the prevailing system under the new regime, appreciating a departure from divisive ideologies. She recalled overcoming adversity to achieve a Guinness World Record, showcasing her leadership and strategic prowess in orchestrating a landmark event.

“I suffered a huge business loss after an official cancelled my event without any genuine reason but saying “why I was extra active for reforms and women’s rights?” Allah then gave me the chance to organize the Guinness World Record for creating the world’s largest human-picture mosaic in 2017, showcasing my leadership and strategic acumen,” she stated.

She further revealed that she had been informed by a UK-based agency that she will not be able to win Guinness due to being Saudi. “But this racist taunt fueled me with such energy that I ultimately developed a successful strategy, leading to the event’s success for my client, the ‘Alabeer Medical Group’ in Jeddah,” she explained.

With a distinguished academic background, including a PhD in Mass Media and a Master’s degree in International Relations, coupled with extensive studies in Investigative Journalism, Mass Communication, and Filmmaking, Dr. Sameera Aziz has emerged as a trailblazing figure. Her accolades extend to her ambassadorship for Women and Children in Saudi Arabia, conferred by the SPMUDA International Organization, which is affiliated with the United Nations, as well as holding the honorary title of “Princess” in the Sultanate of Buayan-Philippines.

She was elected as a Director of the Global Sports Federation, accredited by the United Nations, securing the votes of 83 countries. Furthermore, she was elected as the Global Chief of the World Union of Poets for Urdu. Beyond her entrepreneurial pursuits, she has made significant literary contributions, marked by the historic milestone of authoring the first-ever Urdu novel in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Sameera ascended to prominence as a formidable female media icon in Saudi Arabia, actively demolishing barriers in a traditionally male-dominated society through her fearless execution of undercover sting operations. Throughout her illustrious career, she wielded considerable influence, initially serving as an editor in Urdu news at the Saudi Research & Marketing Group, and later rising to the esteemed position of Senior International Editor at Saudi Gazette within the Okaz Company.

She consistently forged close alliances with the Saudi Ministry of Media, showcasing not only her media prowess but also her entrepreneurial acumen by establishing ventures that align with her unwavering dedication to advancing her country’s interests and championing humanitarian causes.

She is renowned for her diverse professional engagements, which encompass journalism, filmmaking, public speaking, and social and political analysis. Expanding beyond her creative endeavors, she has established business ventures across a multitude of sectors, including construction, advertising agencies, film production, shopping centers, events management, food, hospitality, transportation, and import-export. 

Moreover, she indulges in her hobbies within the entertainment industry as a YouTuber, actress, theatre artist, brand endorser, host, and conference moderator. She actively participates in conferences, leveraging her multilingual skills in Urdu and English to promote Saudi Arabia’s positive image globally and is always the most awaited speaker.

She has hosted, directed, produced, and reported on numerous international events, documentaries, and films, including comprehensive coverage of Hajj occasions for Saudi TV. Throughout her illustrious career, she has received numerous honors and awards, including the Great Woman Award in the Middle East. She is a prolific writer, excelling in various literary forms such as poetry, novels, short stories, stage and screenplays, and journalism.

However, despite receiving acclaim for her multifaceted endeavors, Dr. Sameera Aziz has faced criticism for her feminist journalism, particularly her bold undercover operations aimed at safeguarding women’s rights. Clarifying her intentions, she highlighted the pivotal role of her investigative work in advocating for women’s safety, notably contributing to reforms in taxi regulations to enhance accountability and security.

“This operation played a pivotal role in advocating for women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia as I provided substantial evidence highlighting the safety risks women faced when traveling in taxis with unknown drivers,” she emphasized. “As a result of this televised operation, all taxi drivers were mandated to display their number plates behind the passenger seat, enhancing accountability and safety measures,” she clarified.

Recalling the events surrounding domestic violence following the assault on TV presenter Rania Al-Baz by her husband in 2004, she recounted how she decided to confront Rania’s abusive spouse despite facing threats from numerous men, including hired goons affiliated with him, who also hacked her Facebook account. “I shared a poignant juxtaposition of Rania’s radiant image from my past interview with her alongside a stark portrayal of her swollen face, obtained from her father,” she explained. “I felt compelled to raise awareness and support for Rania, especially after learning that Saudi Arabia lacked legislation addressing domestic violence, allowing her abuser to evade consequences after he brutally attacked her, breaking her nose and leaving her injured outside an emergency ward.”

Dr. Sameera Aziz went on to express her surprise at the worldwide attention the post garnered and the subsequent global support she and her activist colleagues received, leading to the prosecution of Rania’s abusive husband and the enactment of new domestic violence laws in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Sameera Aziz’s unwavering advocacy for women’s rights is rooted in a firm belief in peaceful activism and empowerment. Dismissing any notion of civil disobedience, she champions a nuanced approach, urging women to assert their rights with qualification and peace. “When I joined Saudi journalism as one of the pioneering females in this field, many women followed in my footsteps, but they left Saudi Arabia soon after, citing scholarships as their reason, and never returned to contribute actively to society,” stated Dr. Sameera Aziz, who refused to leave the field.

She stayed firm and faced challenges by living and working inside the country. As Dr. Sameera Aziz continues to leave an indelible mark on Saudi media and society at large, her journey epitomizes resilience, determination, and unwavering dedication to progress, inspiring a new generation of trailblazers to forge ahead in pursuit of a brighter future for Saudi Arabia. 

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By Muskan Singh