People reading Gulf News
People reading Gulf News paper and the website at a cafe in Sharjah. the event will explore strategies to advance the industry’s digital transformation and assess how the sector can take advantage of new opportunities and technologies to accelerate its growth. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The Dubai Press Club (DPC) on Saturday announced the agenda for the 19th edition of the Arab Media Forum (AMF), which will be held virtually on December 23 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The Forum will bring together prominent regional and international media personalities and industry leaders to discuss the outlook for the region’s media sector.

Organised under the theme ‘Arab Media: The Future is Digital’, the event will explore strategies to advance the industry’s digital transformation and assess how the sector can take advantage of new opportunities and technologies to accelerate its growth. Some of the sector’s most accomplished thought leaders will analyse the current state of the industry and its future prospects to shape a new vision for Arab media.

The AMF’s 19th edition will take a deeper look at the challenges facing news organisations, which are going through significant changes amid a rapidly evolving regional and international environment. Participating speakers will discuss the unprecedented disruptive shifts facing the sector as news consumption increasingly moves from traditional media to new digital platforms. The Forum will explore new forms of content creation that have gained popularity in recent years.

Key speakers

Key speakers at this year’s Arab Media Forum include Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, the Prime Minister of Egypt, Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Dr. Osama Haikal, Egypt’s Minister of State for Information and Michael Friedenberg, President, Reuters News.

Mona Al Marri

Welcoming the speakers, Mona Al Marri, President of Dubai Press Club and Chairperson of AMF’s Organising Committee, said: “We look forward to listening to perspectives of the distinguished speakers on the massive transformations sweeping the globe and various developments impacting the political and economic landscape, including the global pandemic. This year’s Forum will examine the role of these developments in accelerating existing digital transformation and setting in motion new shifts.”

The President of DPC noted that the discussions at AMF 2020 will explore how the region’s media can better prepare for the future. She pointed out that the COVID-19 crisis has forced news organisations to speed up their adoption of digital alternatives. yhe Arab Media Forum will explore how regional media organisations can ride the waves of transformation.

Maitha Buhumaid, Director of Dubai Press Club said: “The global repercussions of COVID-19 and the restrictions it imposed resulted in many media organisations speeding up their digital transformation. The consequent high rate of digital adoption has highlighted the importance of anticipating the future needs of this vital sector.” The AMF organising committee has designed an agenda that will foster a constructive discussion on these vital issues, which will yield insights that can help media organisations adopt the optimal strategies for thriving in the future, she noted.

Buhumaid said the Forum will be broadcast live on a special digital platform. The Forum’s activities will also be shared on DPC’s various social media accounts.

Keynote address

Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, the Prime Minister of Egypt, will deliver the keynote address this year. He will discuss the role of media in combating challenges facing the region, including the spread of misinformation. He will also share Egypt’s experience in the media sector and how digital technologies can be used to enhance excellence in the media.

Opening session

In the opening session of the Forum, Michael Friedenberg, President, Reuters News, will discuss the profound disruptions impacting the media industry and the ways in which news organisations can respond to global changes. Expanding on the theme ‘The Future is Digital’, Friedenberg will share his observations on the current state of the news industry and the opportunities that emerging technologies offer. He will also throw light on how new technologies like AI and machine learning are impacting the industry.

The Arab Media Landscape

This year’s main dialogue session featuring Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), will discuss the future of the Arab world in the light of current regional and global circumstances and the role of GCC states in ensuring the stability of the region.

Middle East Region: New paths

Author, reporter and columnist Thomas Friedman will join AMF this year to discuss the prospects for peace in the Middle East and the impact of the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan’s agreements with Israel to promote the stability of the region. Friedman’s session, to be moderated by journalist and TV host Zeina Yazigi, will also highlight developments that triggered geopolitical changes in the region at a time when GCC countries are increasingly enhancing their contributions to promoting global security and stability.

Arab Media: Geopolitical transformations

In a session titled ‘Arab Media: Geopolitical Transformations’, Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Defence, Interior and Foreign Affairs Committee in the Federal National Council, Dr. Fahed Al-Shelaimi, President of the Gulf Forum for Security and Peace and Sawsan Al Shaer, Journalist and Columnist, will discuss new trends shaping Arab media. Moderated by Hussain Al Sheikh, TV Presenter in Al Hadath channel, the session will explore how media can continue to serve people and address social issues.

Reshaping the Arab Media

In a session titled ‘Reshaping the Arab Media, Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, Journalist and Chairman of Al Arabiya’s Editorial Board, will discuss the impact of regional events on Arab media. Al-Rashed’s session, to be moderated by Sky News Arabia TV Presenter Chantal Saliba, will also share his insights on global media development in the post-COVID-19 period.

The Arab Media Forum is one of the major events that form part of the DPC’s annual calendar of events. The Arab Journalism Awards Ceremony, to be held virtually on the same day of the Forum, will honour outstanding journalists in the Arab world.