Dubai: Arabic media must adopt latest communication trends and content platforms but not loose social values in the process, the Arab Media Forum (AMF) heard in Dubai on Tuesday.
The call came as hundreds of media personalities and professionals from across the Arab world gathered for the 20th edition of AMF, being held till tomorrow, October 5, at Madinat Jumeirah.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, as well as Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), and Sheikh Hasher bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Media Incorporated, graced the event that also saw the handing of Arab Media Award (AMA) on the opening day.
Sessions and panel discussions this year centred on the theme, ‘The Future of Media’. Expounding on this, Mona Al Marri, president of Dubai Press Club and AMA secretary-general, posed a challenge to the attendees. She said Arab media should have a concerted effort to formulate and execute a strategy that will develop the talents in the region that will transform the media landscape “from conventional to what is new”.
She added: “I call on each one of you, let us cooperate in reflecting the values of society and putting the Arab media on the right track towards the future.”
Striking a balance
In one of the main sessions titled ‘Arab Media: Transformation and Impact’, Dr Ramzan Abdulla Al Nuaimi, Bahrain Minister of Information Affairs, said “the media in the region should be ready to seize opportunities, like the metaverse”.
He added: “We take into consideration the spread of social media and advent of metaverse, but we should also preserve the social values”, noting that there should be a clear-cut regulatory environment to “ensure respect for privacy and the society.”
In the same session, Karam Gabr, president of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation in Egypt, said governments and media practitioners cannot turn their backs on social media – noting that “70 to 80 per cent of the public consume or get their news from social media”.
He added: “There are 75 million social media users in Egypt and the technology is developing so fast. We should work with traditional and social media and use technology to put forward a responsible message to the Arab world.”
‘Report the truth’
Meanwhile, Sultan bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World, talked about the dangers of misinformation and fake news. He said: “Sometimes, when media are in a hurry to broadcast a new information that is not verified, it turns out fake and not true. This becomes unfortunate because news goes out so fast [due to social media] and this may cause companies to lose money or reputation.”
He added: “A good journalist should tell the truth and verify information.”
Day 2 agenda
Organised by the Dubai Press Club, the two-day event Arab Media Forum will conclude on Wednesday. Among the topics to be discussed are climate change and its impact on the newsroom, digital disruption in Arab media, as well as technology and trust in media.
There will be panel discussions on future of digital platforms, Middle East’s evolving political landscape, and a particular focus on Lebanese media
Dr Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE President, will talk in a session titled, ‘The Middle East: Changing Perspectives’.
Other breakout sessions will discuss Arab media’s journey towards the metaverse, the future of work in the media industry, new game-plans in sports media, and the rising popularity of television dramas.