Mona G Al Marri, Chairperson of the Dubai Council for the Future of Media Image Credit: Government of Dubai Media Office

Dubai: The local media have a vital role to play in the sustainable development of the country, a top government official has stressed.

Speaking to Gulf News in an exclusive interview as the 20th Arab Media Forum kicks off in Dubai today, Mona G Al Marri, Chairperson of the Dubai Council for the Future of Media, said, “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, recognised very early that the media sector was a vital stakeholder in developing the nation’s sustainable economy and driving knowledge-based growth. Local media organisations have been very strong partners in supporting the UAE’s development journey.”

She said, “The local media’s objective news coverage has conveyed an authentic and accurate picture of Dubai’s achievements and global competitiveness to the rest of the world. I believe they will continue to play a stellar role in telling untold stories and creating conversations that can help catalyse sustainable development.”

Delegates at the 20th edition of the Arab Media Forum that has kicked off in Dubai today. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/GUlf News

Raising capabilities

She said the Arab world’s prominent media thought leaders, decision makers, influencers and professionals are gathering together at the Arab Media Forum for the 20th edition of the event to engage in a dialogue on accelerating the sector’s development and raising its capabilities.

“Over the last 20 years, the forum has facilitated extensive exchange of knowledge, ideas and insights between professionals, contributing to the growth of the region’s media. This year’s agenda will explore various aspects of traditional and new media in order to draw a road map for the future. Through meaningful dialogue, we seek to define clear objectives to strengthen the competitiveness of Arab media at a time when the future is being shaped by digital technologies,” she noted.

Dubai media’s journey

Tracing the journey of the media in Dubai over the years, Mona Al Marri said, “The establishment of Dubai Media City over 20 years ago was one of the most defining moments in the development of the media industry in both the UAE and the region over the last few decades.”

Dubai Media City has played an important part in raising Dubai’s profile as a major hub for global media, she pointed out.

“When global and regional media companies look to establish a base in the region, the first place they think of is Dubai Media City and other media free zones like Dubai Studio City and Dubai Production City. The biggest brands in the media industry both regional and international have a presence in Dubai Media City. Together, Dubai Media City, Dubai Production City and Dubai Studio City form a comprehensive media ecosystem that is a major global focal point for innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity in the sector.”

Dubai Media city gate
Dubai Media City has played an important part in raising Dubai’s profile as a major hub for global media. Image Credit: Gulf News

The official said the launch of Dubai Press Club’s initiatives to foster media excellence including the Arab Media Forum (AMF), the region’s largest media gathering; the Arab Media Award (AMA); and the Arab Social Media Influencers Summit (ASMIS) represent other major milestones in the development of the media industry.

She also noted that Dubai was selected as the ‘Capital of Arab Media’ for 2020 and 2021 by the Council of Arab Information Ministers in recognition of its leadership role in Arab media growth.

“This year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed established the Dubai Media Council to streamline efforts to develop Dubai’s media sector and enhance its status as a regional and global media hub,” she added.

The two-day Arab Media Forum in Dubai will be attended by over 3,000 delegates. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Two-day forum agenda

On what one can expect from the two-day forum, she said it will focus on ways regional media can boost its future readiness amidst massive transformations in regional and global environments.

“The forum seeks to articulate clear objectives to strengthen the competitiveness of Arab media at a time when digital technologies are shaping the future. Stakeholders will come together to discuss how Arab media can innovate, strive for excellence, and develop the talent necessary to become a force to reckon with in the global media landscape,” she said.

The discussions will explore various dimensions of the regional media landscape and key drivers of its development, including the political landscape, new technologies like the metaverse, social media trends and trust in the media. A series of interactive workshops will be held on the sidelines of the forum in partnership with leading global media organisations, including CNN Arabia, Agence France-Presse (AFP), CCTV Middle East and Meta. Prominent industry experts will demonstrate how newsrooms can use technologies to enhance the impact of news content and quality, she added.