There are 1,230 television channels in the Arab world, including 133 state-owned channels.
The role of media in building social and cultural bridges among Arab people can never be underestimated. The Arab Media Forum (AMF) has been taking tremendous efforts to open wide horizons for dialogue, in-depth discussions and exchange of ideas on issues of importance to the region as well as the world at large.
Such candid discussions are the right way to deal with the most pressing issues facing the media industry and examine future opportunities, so as to forge a new vision for the media that supports the aspirations of the region’s people.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has rightly affirmed that the media has an important role in enhancing the region’s ability to deal with current challenges and developing new solutions to overcome the problems that hinder its development.
One of the biggest challenges for the media in the modern society is to combat hate speech and misleading ideologies. As Sheikh Mohammed suggests, a balanced discourse, constructive ideas and openness are the real weapons that the media should use to combat hate speech.
The media possesses the power of the word and should utilise this power to make a positive impact on the community.
The level of influence media wields is remarkable especially considering the fact that there are 1,230 television channels in the Arab world, including 133 state-owned channels.
The media cannot anymore ignore the rapid developments in technology brought by the onset of the fourth industrial revolution and the need to use modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, Internet of Things and modern applications in Arab media.
Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and President of the National Media Council, has a valid point when he states that there are many opportunities to develop and improve media performance, through advanced tools provided by new technologies.
It is important to develop media methods that will reinforce the cohesion between Arab communities and achieve development and prosperity. The media in the UAE is a successful model of such efforts, as Jaber points out, through presenting and discussing various topics with professionalism and objectivity.
Fabrice Fries, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Agence France-Presse, well stated that news agencies are no more the original source of news. The big tech companies have changed the game with regard to breaking news and forced traditional media to alter their own ways of doing business. There is a huge appetite for images when it comes to news consumption.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand photographed wearing a veil and hugging a Muslim was a very powerful image, which in itself, told the story, as Fries elucidated.
Vice President, Audience and Data, CNN, Tini Sevak has rightly advised media houses to have rich knowledge of their audience. Providing audience with relevant and meaningful content and building credibility and favourability through accuracy and trust are very important aspects that should not be ignored.
Bringing together more than 3,000 high-profile regional, international media figures is a challenging feat, and the Middle East’s most prominent annual media event deserves praise for effectively doing so. Through its intellectually-stimulating sessions, the AMF has certainly become a leading media platform for creating the future.