Sheikh Mohammed at the Arab Media Forum in Dubai on Wednesday. WAM
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
DUBAI: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, 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.
His remarks came during his meeting with Arab media personalities on Wednesday at the 18th edition of the Arab Media Forum (AMF 2019), organised by the Dubai Press Club.
He expressed his appreciation for the media’s efforts and highlighted its role in helping the region deal with the various changes that have taken place in the Arab world over the past few years.
Sheikh Mohammed said, “The media possesses the power of the word and utilises this power to make a positive impact on the community. Good words will grow and prosper. The media must maintain high levels of integrity and professionalism.”
He also talked about the role of the media in combating hate speech and misleading ideologies that do not serve people but hamper their ability to enjoy a bright future.
“A balanced discourse, constructive ideas and openness are the real weapons that media should use to combat hate speech. The media is our main partner in protecting Arab youth and motivating their minds to go beyond mere personal interests,” he said.
He also highlighted the rapid developments in technology brought by the onset of the fourth industrial revolution, and the need to use modern technologies like AI, blockchain, Internet of Things and modern applications in Arab media.
In addition to using modern technologies, Sheikh Mohammed also called on media organisations to develop their human capital, which will continue to be the base for innovation and creativity.
Following his tour, Sheikh Mohammed held a dialogue with journalists and media personalities participating in the event and discussed with them the industry’s challenges and opportunities.
The media praised Dubai’s unique development model developed under the leadership of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Later, Sheikh Mohammed also attended a panel discussion with information ministers in the Arab World, who included Bahrain’s Information Affairs Minister Ali Bin Mohammed Al Romaihi and Head of Egypt’s National Media Authority Hussein Zein.
The panel discussed the state of government-owned media in the Arab world, and the challenges they face in achieving their objectives and raising their level of influence.
While there are 1,230 TV channels in the Arab world, including 133 state-owned channels, TV broadcasters that command real influence are limited.
“The media industry is one of the strategic sectors that constantly seek to raise its level of influence. Recent reports revealed that the budget spent on media exceeds the budget spent on defence, which highlights the importance of the industry,” said Mohammed Al Romaihi, adding that government officials should interact with media to gain the required credibility.
Hussein Zein said that public media outlets have lost their credibility among audiences who tend to distrust them mainly due to weak content and messages.
He said public media always ensures the accuracy of their stories before publishing them, which generally takes more time than privately owned media outlets.
To address these challenges, panelists said each outlet should develop its own unique approach for raising its influence. Promoting a media-friendly culture governed by the right regulations will help achieve the desired objectives, and help state-owned media become truly influential.
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