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Sheikh Ahmed (centre) with Dr. Anwar Gargash and Mona Al Marri at the Emirati Media Forum. Image Credit: WAM

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and in the presence of Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, Dubai Press Club on Monday held the seventh edition of the Emirati Media Forum.

The Forum brought together UAE media sector stakeholders to discuss the major factors driving local media development and the vast political, economic, cultural and technological transformations taking place across the world.

Sheikh Ahmed said the UAE media enables its audiences to stay informed about vital issues and stay abreast of the changes and new developments taking place in the UAE and internationally.

Sheikh Ahmed commended the UAE media for its exceptional contribution to the country’s development.

“We deeply appreciate the role played by media organisations across the UAE in helping realise the vision of its leaders and conveying an accurate picture of the country’s achievements to audiences in the UAE, the region and the globe,” he said.

“We look forward to enhancing the impact of the UAE’s media both locally and internationally and supporting it in its efforts to raise standards and achieve the highest global benchmarks of excellence.”

Sheikh Ahmed further said the UAE will continue to supports the media and encourage it to produce content that supports the nation’s vision, goals and aspirations.

Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Diplomatic Advisor to the UAE President, delivered an address at the opening session of the Forum to an audience that included media industry leaders, newspaper editors, heads of television and radio channels, media influencers and prominent academics, writers and opinion-leaders in the UAE.

Dr. Gargash highlighted the UAE’s growth and the country’s remarkable achievements.

“The UAE’s leadership has placed the nation’s development and its vital sectors such as education, healthcare and infrastructure at the top of its priorities, and I believe that in the next phase, the region must also prioritise development over politics,” he said.

“The need to establish platforms for dialogue in the Arab world is another important aspect that needs to be addressed in the next phase. Furthermore, the region needs to enhance economic and investment cooperation, which will enhance prosperity and stability.”

Dr. Gargash also highlighted the UAE’s focus on diplomacy and soft power, which forms part of its efforts to build strong bridges with other nations. He highlighted the vital role of the UAE media in raising awareness among global audiences about the country’s success and its aspirations to drive progress.

He also commended the UAE media for their remarkable coverage of Expo 2020 Dubai and the fight against COVID-19.

He underscored the need for more specialised media that can support the nation’s economic growth and help advance its key goals like enhancing food security and combating climate change. The local media need to foster discussion on climate change as the UAE prepares to host COP28 in 2023, he said.

On the challenges facing the print media due to the digital revolution, he said that providing high-quality content that engages readers is of utmost importance. Stressing the need to embrace new communication technologies and tools, he noted that many prominent media outlets have adopted a paid subscription model. In order for the media to successfully shift to such a revenue model, the quality of content provided to audiences must be improved, he said.

As the UAE moves into the next 50-year phase of growth, the media must continue to powerfully communicate the nation’s achievements to the world, he said. Emphasising the importance of telling compelling stories, he said: “We have made great strides in many fields including women’s empowerment, labour rights, religious tolerance and justice. We also have one of the best justice systems in the region.”

The English media, he noted, plays an instrumental role in telling the country’s success stories to an international audience.

In closing, Dr. Gargash spoke about the need for government entities to have open channels of communication with the media, enabling them to stay abreast of the latest developments, enhance the quality of their content and develop their storytelling capabilities.

In the second session of the Emirati Media Forum, key media personalities stressed the importance of supporting and empowering local media talent to giveg them the skills to deliver quality content and drive positive social change.

The Forum also addressed the importance of using social media platforms to tell engaging stories that highlight the UAE’s rich culture and heritage and training social media influencers to convey the UAE’s vision to global audiences. Speakers at the Forum said the next 50 years will offer unique opportunities for media professionals and industry players to transform themselves by adopting global best practices and innovative strategies.

Mona Al Marri, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Dubai Media Council and President of the Dubai Press Club, expressed her appreciation to Dr. Gargash for his speech.

“The UAE today stands at the threshold of a new phase of its development journey, which it is undertaking against the backdrop of vast multi-dimensional global transformations taking place in various spheres,” she said.

“The media can play a major role in advancing the nation’s development journey by disseminating a clear set of unified messages that support the process of sustainable growth. By raising their competitiveness at a global level, local media can make significant contributions to realising of the UAE’s vision for shaping a better future for the region and the world.”

She said the Dubai Press Club was committed to realising the objective set by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the launch of the institution more than 20 years ago to create a unique platform for the media to exchange ideas, insights and perspectives. Through a series of initiatives, Dubai has worked closely with various industry players and local, Arab and international institutions to achieve this aim.