Dubai: The editors-in-chief of local newspapers endorsed a memorandum on emiratisation of the media sector in the UAE during their periodic meeting held at the Gulf News headquarters on Wednesday.
The memorandum, submitted to Saqr Gobash Saeed Gobash, Minister of Labour, Chairman of the National Media Council (NMC), for further perusal of the Cabinet, highlighted the real partnership and exemplary communication between the concerned public and private media establishments on one side and the government, represented by the (NMC), on the other.
The chief editors suggested setting up a national committee to emiratise the media sector, who can submit its visions to the NMC. They also suggested taking rapid steps in training and qualification, especially by the Journalists Association supported by the NMC, which has allocated Dh1 million for this purpose.
The editors-in-chief pointed out that emiratisation in the media sector is tough but possible, according to their experience.
Government support will be indispensable, whether through implementing sovereign decisions or participating in financing them, such as paying part salaries of Emirati journalists.
During the meeting, a full briefing about the programmes at Mohammad Bin Rashid Media College was given by its Dean, Dr Ali Jaber. He spoke about the Advanced Bachelor's in a number of Media disciplines, which includes 120 students so far.
He also pointed out that the college intends to implement two new programmes — Masters in Journalism and Masters in Media Leadership. Both are one-year programmes and will start from January 2011. Dr Jan Faris and Dr Alex Zalmi, experts at the Ministry of Labour, submitted suggestions on how the ministry can implement media emiratisation.
They stressed the keenness of the labour minister to facilitate the process due to the importance of this field.
On another note, Habib Al Sayegh, Adviser of Editorial Affairs at Al Khaleej publishing house, discussed the issue of newspapers distributed free of charge in the UAE. He said the phenomenon is increasing lately. It negatively affects the press, he said, and considered it a waste of public funds.
Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of Gulf News, said that the phenomenon is a serious violation of the publication law, which stipulates that the price of each publication must be clearly displayed.
This means that offering free publications is against the law, he added.
While some said that it was a matter of personal freedom and part of the marketing choice for each establishment, Al Sayegh reiterated his point and urged the NMC to investigate the legal aspects of the issue.
It was agreed to hear the official point of view during the next meeting.
Al Khaleej Arabic daily will host the next meeting, which will discuss how the local media could participate in the national-social partnership issue.
The meeting was attended by Dha'en Shaheen, Editor-in-Chief of Al Bayan, Sami Al Reyami, Editor-in-Chief of Emarat Al Youm, Riyadh Miqdadi, Editor-in-Chief of Emirates Business 24/7, Hassan Fattah, Editor-in-Chief of The National, Hassan Rafat, Abu Dhabi Bureau Chief of Khaleej Times and Ebrahim Al Abed, Director General of the NMC.