Dr Maitha Buhumaid, director of Dubai Press Club, at last week's briefing about Arab Media Forum in Dubai Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: The upcoming Arab Media Forum 2023 to be held in Dubai this week will set norms for the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in media, explore the role of AI in fighting fake news, empowering Arabic language and elevating the profile of Arab media.

This has been revealed by a top official of the Dubai Press Club, which organises the annual forum.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, Dr Maitha Buhumaid, director of Dubai Press Club, said the forum will see the launch of an AI media guideline report in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Artificial Intelligence.

Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, will deliver a speech and highlight the role of AI in the media, she said.

“At the forum, we are launching a report. It is more of an AI media guideline [from] the ministry.”

Earlier this year, the ministry launched a comprehensive guide on the utilisation of generative AI applications. The “Generative AI” guide serves as a valuable resource for government entities, enabling them to leverage the benefits of AI technologies and enhance their implementation across various fields.

Fighting fake news, deepfakes

Sessions at the forum will also shed light on the media’s role in fighting fake news and deepfake videos using AI.

“We also talk about traditional journalism, social media platforms and the need to embrace digitalisation. We are working with media entities to transform, become more tech-savvy and be more digital-friendly, yet not to forget the important [media] stream, that is the newspaper,” said Dr Buhumaid.

In the context of what digital platforms have come to represent in terms of the direction the media and entertainment sectors are taking, the forum will open the door for intense discussions about the prospects of these platforms. Trends and tools seen transforming newsrooms over the next two decades will also take centre stage.

Multiple sessions will explore topics related to advanced technologies, including AI’s role in enhancing the capabilities of Arab media, the sector’s preparedness to integrate AI technologies and the AI-powered automation of media functions. Minister Al Olama will also participate in a panel discussion on ‘MetaTech: The Future Gateway.’

Arabic in AI, AI in entertainment

Additionally, the Forum will push for the use of Arabic language in AI tools to make those tools accessible to a wider group of Arabic-speaking users in the region.

“There is a dearth in the use of the Arabic language in the field of AI. Our initiative aims to bridge the gap in AI applications for Arabic,” pointed out Dr Buhumaid.

In keeping with the forum’s accent on how technology is shaping the future of media, the opening day features a dialogue titled ‘AI and the Future of Arabic Drama’ with artists from across the Arab world lending their perspectives.

New topics woven into the event’s fabric this year also reflect a renewed focus on the future of drama and film production in the Arab region, with one session deliberating on ways of restoring Arab drama to its former glory in terms of reach and impact.

The second day will see a session titled ‘AI: The New Frontier for Cinema’. The discussion will delve into what AI portends for films, actors and scriptwriters and how such technologies could ultimately enhance creative storytelling.

Dr Bhumaid said the Forum will address the international recognition of Arab actors, artists, and producers in the cinema industry, discussing milestones in the film industry in the region.

Inaugural Youth Media Forum

The organisers have also announced that ahead of AMF, the inaugural Youth Media Forum (YMF) will be held on Day Zero on September 25 under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Media Council.

The one-day event will offer a series of sessions that include panel discussions and workshops led by experts from international media organisations. The forum will focus on key factors that drive excellence in today’s evolving media landscape.

Dr Buhumaid said around 200 students from various universities across the region have been handpicked to attend the Forum.

A brainstorming session in a “Dubai Lab” will be held to hear from Gen Z. “What is the best medium that they want to get the news through, and to interact with media personnel? What would be the best way to bridge the gap between us and Gen Z? We will discuss all that.”

Dr Buhumaid said the Youth Media Forum aims to come up with ways to upskill the students to help them find jobs in the media industry more easily.

“It will have workshops and masterclasses from international platforms like Netflix and TikTok. We will share some inspirational talks to motivate the participating students. We are also looking at some initiatives that would help everyone in that age group across the region.”

Effective strategies for children

“We have a special session, which is close to my heart. It focuses on nurturing our children’s cultural values and protecting them from harmful influences. We aim to create an ecosystem that reinforces our cultural norms and encourages critical thinking when exposed to unfamiliar or conflicting ideas. We’re exploring effective strategies to achieve this with a positive outlook.”

The Youth Media Forum will have a strong focus on equipping the next generation of media professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to flourish in a rapidly changing media environment.

Netflix will participate in a masterclass titled ‘The Media Forum for Youth on Storytelling through Films and Digital Platforms’, while TikTok will present a masterclass on ‘How to Kickstart Your TikTok Career’.

With more workshops and masterclasses addressing the Arab youth, Dr Buhumaid said the Youth Forum will continue to be an annual feature of the AMF.

Between September 26 and 30, the Arab Media Forum 2023 will see over 75 sessions featuring 130 speakers and the participation of 160 media organisations. The forum will explore cutting-edge media trends, share inspiring success stories and discuss a new vision for charting a bright future for the Arab world’s media.