Delegates at the opening of ‘Media Forum 2018- Media Framework Against Risk in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Arab world must keep pace with the global media sector by having their own competent media players amid a global mass media spend of $1.7 trillion (Dh6.23 trillion) in 2017, according to a Bahraini minister at a media forum held in Abu Dhabi.

Organised by the Supreme Council for National Security, the forum on Tuesday brought together policy makers and media personalities to discuss the role of media and its influence on society.

Participants discussed the need to have trustworthy media platforms that can quickly disseminate reliable information to the general public, especially during times of crises and emergencies.

Global spending on mass media amounted $1.7 trillion in 2017... In the Arab world, 193 million Arabs — half of the region’s population — are on social media networks.”

 - Ali Bin Mohammad Al Rumaihi | Bahrain’s minister of Information Affairs


“Global spending on mass media amounted $1.7 trillion in 2017, with 45 per cent of that media being electronic. In the Arab world, 193 million Arabs — half of the region’s population — are on social media networks,” said Ali Bin Mohammad Al Rumaihi, Bahrain’s minister of Information Affairs.

“The Arab world has also seen an increase in government and private television channels — 963 in total — with 86 per cent of those channels private and the rest public,” he added, highlighting the amount of content Arabs are exposed to.

Al Ruamahi said the wide availability and easy access to information technology was also changing the nature of conflicts.

“Information technology has changed the nature of conflicts, creating an environment that allows for wars and conflicts through the use of such tools that also allows entities to spread their intellectual and ideological beliefs.

“The US spends $7 billion (Dh25.69 billion) on electronic security, China spends $1.5 billion (Dh5.5 billion), and Britain spends $500 million (Dh1,835 million),” he added.

Dr Jamal Mohammad Al Hosani, director general, National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, also spoke about the importance of media, saying media organisations in the UAE have a role to play in helping deal with crises.

“The region has seen an acceleration in the challenges that affect us which makes it important for professional media organisations in the UAE to deal with these challenges and future crises.

“The media is currently the first in line to confront any crises because of its advantage of being able to communicate with the public in a very fast way. We must continue to work towards creating a mechanism that brings media platforms closer to the public,” he added.