Dubai: The Dubai Press Club, organisers of the Arab Journalism Awards (AJA), on Saturday announced the names of 60 jury members comprising elite media professionals that have been tasked to evaluate submissions and select winners for the 2012 edition of the awards.

Details about the jury panelists are provided on the AJA website

Shortlisted candidates for all categories of the awards will be announced on April 14.

Winners of the 11th Arab Journalism Awards will be honored at a gala ceremony on May 9, during the concluding segment of the two-day Arab Media Forum that will take centre stage on 8 May at the Grand Hyatt in Dubai.

Jasim Al Shemsi, Award Executive, Dubai Press Club, said: "Comprising qualified media professionals from around the world, members of the jury form the backbone of the awards. The challenging task of scrutinizing the entries, evaluating their caliber and picking out the finalists is no mean task. This year, just five per cent of the judges are carried forward from last year, while the remaining members have been appointed new to the panel. The identities of these members were kept confidential to ensure the highest level of professionalism, and maintain maximum neutrality. We thank our elite panelists for consenting to take on the mandate. We look upon their feedback to further streamline the judging mechanism for our future editions."

Al Shemsi added that the awards' transition to the electronic format, inviting digital submissions, has facilitated the receipt of applications and expedited the work of the judging committees.

He said: "Moving forward, we aim to further build on this electronic format for facilitating an online judging process that makes the task easier for the jury through reducing their investment of time and effort."

The judging process for the Arab Journalism Awards is based on strict mechanisms and criteria, where the journalists' names, the publications they represent and any information that may indicate the candidates 'identities are withheld in order to ensure maximum neutrality in the assessment. Members of the jury are also rotated annually with their identities kept confidential. Each jury member is individually assigned to evaluate and shortlist their choices in order to ensure there is no exchange of opinions among the panel members.

Themed "Arab Media: Exposure and Transition", Arab Media Forum 2012 is anticipated to draw the participation of over 2,000 regional and international journalists, as well as influential decision makers, opinion leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators.

The event is set to host eight sessions and four workshops that will highlight the perspectives of more than 65 speakers from various academic, media and research disciplines.