Dubai Press Club. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Close coordination between local media outlets is among the key recommendations of the sixth edition of the Emirati Media Forum (EMF) organised by Dubai Press Club (DPC) this month.

The forum discussed several topics including the future of the UAE’s media industry over the next 50 years and the sector’s development in accordance with the UAE leadership’s vision. DPC said the event’s key recommendations will help draw a road map for the local media sector’s future growth and enhance its role and competitiveness in the next phase.

Transparent dialogue

Mona Al Marri

Mona Al Marri, President, Dubai Press Club, said: “Our goal is to be aligned with the requirements of the next phase and facilitate positive contributions from local media. Participants in this year’s forum unanimously believe an integrated strategy is critical to ensure smooth coordination between all stakeholders in the sector including media organisations, government communication entities and the internal communication teams of government and semi-government institutions.”

Maitha Buhumaid

Maitha Buhumaid, Director, Dubai Press Club, said: “There were more than 30 recommendations made by participants during the sixth edition of the event which took into consideration a wide gamut of challenges facing the sector. These recommendations are a key starting point for developing an ambitious media strategy aligned with the country’s vision. Building on these recommendations to generate new solutions will support the local media’s accelerated advancement in the next phase.”

Participants highlighted the importance of strengthening the role of local media in communicating the UAE’s message to a global audience. They also said local news outlets must work on diversifying their content and including more perspectives. Local media must also be encouraged to freely address topics that support the UAE’s national agenda and confidently offer constructive criticism.

Other key recommendations called for creating more engaging media content, giving talent development the highest priority and allowing youth to participate in conversations so that their ideas and voices can be leveraged to strengthen the UAE’s media.

Participants advised the media to explore new ways to present their content in alignment with the aspirations of the youth. As for social media influencers, they said that they should be given the liberty to present their own work while also being encouraged to develop high quality content. Local English and Arabic media must avoid relying heavily on press releases and developing more of their own stories, the recommendations urged.

Evaluating media

Participants said the outcome of the strategic meetings and discussions that took place at the level of the National Media Council should be implemented in the next phase. There should be mechanisms in place to assess the work of local media organisations, evaluate media content during times of crises and receive feedback and suggestions from the audience. The forum’s participants also stressed the need for local media to invest in 5G technologies.

Other observations made during the forum included assessing the local media’s readiness for digital transformation and ways to enhance its ability to cover more specialised topics. Participants noted that UAE media delivered impactful coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.