Sheikh Sultan and dignitaries at the opening of the 9th IGCF 2020 in Sharjah on Wednesday. WAM
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi has said that delivering ‘communication for the public’ has been at the heart of Sharjah’s 40-year cultural project.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2020) on Wednesday, he said, “Forty years have passed since Sharjah’s cultural project began. During this period, I haven’t written a single letter instructing people on what to do. Our leading cultural, scientific and artistic developments and achievements – this global forum, for instance – have been outcomes of participatory dialogue and open government–citizen communication. I call this ‘popular communication’.”
The Sharjah Ruler emphasised that the Emirate set out on a journey to design and implement a public communication programme in 2010.
“It is time to uncover the truth,” he added.
“Communication for the public is supposed to serve people. Its objectives are, therefore, very different from communication adopted by entities not serving people. It must be directed towards informing people, encouraging dialogue, bringing positive changes in fields of health, education and security, and making the delivery of public services more transparent and effective through the use of right channels of communications,” he added.
The Sharjah Ruler emphasised that accountability for the success of public communications lies with multiple stakeholders from across various sectors, not just with the government.
“People in charge of internal and external communications in companies, journalists, PR professionals, website designers, media figures will together carry out these responsibilities,” he pointed out.
“Communication’s core function is that of an enabler. Good communication accompanies people to be able to enjoy various public services and enhance their lives. Sharjah has achieved this,” he concluded.
Chairman of Sharjah Media Council (SMC) Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qasimi said that there is a pressing need to transform the role of government communication from a one-way message delivery service to a two-way participatory process.
Speaking at the forum, he said that the multifaceted challenges governments have been facing around the world in health, environment, security and cultural sectors, because of media spreading misinformation or fabricated news has affected the trust between them and their people.
“Communication is a key enabler of trust between governments and the governed, and a strategic driver of sustainable development. We need to incorporate mechanisms that will generate faster responses from government to the public, between people from different cultures and between governments, globally.”
He hailed the efforts and leadership of the Sharjah Ruler for having transformed the Emirate over the past five decades into a regional hub for cultural advancement and furthered its pioneering experience in cultural communication.
In a recorded message played at the event, President of Arab Thought Forum (ATF) Prince El Hassan Bin Talal thanked Sheikh Sultan, and said that the forum plays an instrumental role in strengthening stability across the Arab region.
He added, “We are witnessing the post-communication age, which aims to envision the future through a review and assimilation of the past. The internet has become powerful enough to cross borders, take down national powers and overthrow local traditional laws. It is redefining concepts of fear, love, hate, sympathy, learning, education, knowledge, success and failure.”
He emphasised that the future of post-communication depends on the ability to think, act and communicate in a different way, as well as to have a global perspective and a universal culture.
Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman and Founder of the Jordan-based Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global, said, “AI will govern our future, change our lives and every detailed aspect of it. The more you learn, the more you know how much you don’t know. Internet is the only equal universal platform in the world. It is where everyone is offered a level playing field. We can change the future of the Arab world by harnessing the power of the internet to learn, educate, generate awareness, hold dialogue and strengthen cultural exchange and fraternal relations.”
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Afzaal said, “With regard to workers' requests for visa cancellation, it was informed that they could apply to the Labour Ministry which approves cancellation within two weeks.”