The Hajj : past, present and future : the communication aspect
It is the aim of this thesis to investigate the work of the Saudi Arabian media and the information services in relation to the Hajj, to examine their policies, procedures and problems faced by them, and to propose solutions and improvements. The basic objective of this study during the Hajj is to examine how the Saudi Arabian media can serve more effectively the needs of the pilgrims, with their different cultures and languages. An historical examination of the evolution of the Hajj, the services and the media form the background and context for the examination of the current position. The following research methods were adopted: 1- Group discussions and interviews were carried out amongsts ome of the Islamic media visiting the Hajj in order to highlight any problems and concerns about the work of the Saudi Arabian media during the Hajj. 2- A content analysis of the Saudi Arabian newspapers during the Hajj season was carried out using a quota sampling procedure. In total 434 articles were studied using nine coding categories. 3- The content and form of Saudi Arabian radio and television programmes, Hajj handbooks,cassettes and video tapes provided for the pilgrims were analysed. 4- The daily routine of the average pilgrim during the 1993 Hajj season was observed. This work is divided into eight chapters. The Introduction (Chapter One) covers a statement of the problems, aims of the study and gives the various sources of information. In Chapter Two the historical background of the city of Mecca and the Kaaba is discussed, thus providing the historical aspects of the Hajj. The Saudi Arabian Royal Family and the Hajj are discussedin Chapter Three with respect to the importance of the Hajj as a religious obligation. Chapter Four examines the present Saudi Arabian official Hajj policy and procedures, the ministries and committees administering the Hajj and their terms of reference, and specific problems related to the Muslim calendar, weather, transport, accommodation, food, health, and security. Chapter Five is' devoted to the development of the Saudi Arabian media and their coverage of the Hau. Chapter Six analyses the problems which face the Saudi Arabian media during the Hai. Chapter Seven deals with proposed solutions. Finally, conclusions are presented regarding the main features of the present communication systems with regard to the coverage of the Hajj. There are nine major findings in this study: 1- Much has been written on the history of the two Holy cities of Mecca and al-Madina and Arabia's Hajj before and under the Islam, but little attention has been paid to the communication aspects of information and instruction available to the pilgrims. 2- The Saudi Arabian media strives to cater for all the pilgrims during their Haij. 3- The Pilgrims, however need more and better targeted information before, as well as after, their arrival in Saudi Arabia. 4- Most of the pilgrims have no radio or television sets in their buildings and so they are not directly exposed to Saudi Arabian Information. 5- The Saudi Arabian Hajj newspapers provide special information supplements, but these are not as effective as had been hoped. 6- The Islamic media delegation which visit Saudi Arabia during the Hajj believes that the Saudi Arabian media does not serve the pilgrims from different cultures adequately as there is a lack of programme targeting and a shortage of information for non arabic speaking pilgrims. 7- The Saudi Arabian television channels are unable, as yet, to provide services in the main pilgrims' languages, but new technologies should be able to redress this. 8- The Saudi Arabian Radio and TV stations need better scheduling. 9- No systematic study has yet been carried out about the pilgrims' attitudes, their daily movements, access and reaction to the Saudi Arabian Media during the Hail: such a study should form the basis of future media and information policies.