DUBAI- In the current climate of transition from a politically dependent era to that of democratic freedom, Arab media must assume an attitude of self-imposed professionalism and responsibility in conjunction with the government and public at large, according to panelists on the opening day of the 11th Arab Media Forum (AMF 2012).
Titled “Arab Media and the Shock of Change”, the session examined the community’s role intrans forming Arab media, and highlighted the impact of new satellite channels and newspapers on conventional media.
The debate particularly focused on the question of whether the voices of ‘controlled media’ and ‘praise and defamation media’ have been subdued.
Also on its first day and noting the phenomenal role new media has played in shaping the course of events during the Arab Spring, along with the future equation between social and traditional media platforms is more complementary than conflicting; AMF 2012 arranged a workshop titled “Arab Youth Create Own Media Platform”. The workshop was conceptualized by media students from UAE-based colleges and universities.
The workshop also examined the quality of media courses at universities and the media’s capacity to empower a generation of young journalists. Panelists concurred that the complementary equation between traditional and new media could be reinforced through training aspiring journalists on the value and benefits represented by new media.
AMF 2012 panelists also noted that an increasing number of regional journalists are also using the new media platform to connect with their readership base, while traditional media remains the mainstay of news dissemination, the new media devices, particularly Twitter and Facebook, are gaining a larger role in the Arab region in addition to a significant drawback of new media is the credibility quotient of its content.
On AMF 2012 first day and as Twitter has given the regular citizen a powerful platform and a voice that was previously unavailable to them, another workshop titled “Twitter Stars and the Echo of Tweets” was arranged.
The session addressed the use of social networks in the Arab world and their influence on communities. It also examined the nature of content on Twitter, as well as its credibility, ethics of practice, and efficacy over traditional media.
As educating and empowering young people to become critical thinkers is crucial for ensuring smooth transition from traditional media to new media, AMF 2012 titled “The Electronic Media Generation: Journalists by Instinct” session highlighted the success of social networks and blogs in competing with major media outlets. It also dealt with the increasing number of ‘young journalists’ who spread personalized news via electronic outlets, without conforming to established media conventions. The workshop discussed ways in which new media is altering information dissemination and the effect it has on traditional media channels.
The workshop also examined the possibility for media to participate in the cultural development of young people to promote their overall awareness, powers of discretion and capacity for evaluating and selecting newsworthy content.
Themed “Arab Media: Exposure and Transition”, AMF will conclude on 9 May at the Grand Hyatt in Dubai. The two-day event has drawn the participation of over 3,000 regional and international journalists, as well as influential decision makers, opinion leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators.
In the run up to AMF 2012, Dubai Press Club released the key findings of the fourth Arab Media Outlook, providing projections for the regional media sector up to 2015. Every attendee to AMF 2012 has been handed a copy of the report.
Dubai Press Club pioneers the use of latest technology for ensuring a wider dissemination of the forum’s outcomes. This year, it has instituted a digital reporter to broadcast the proceedings of the sessions on social media, live from the venue.
In its commitment to building an informed next-generation of media professionals in the UAE, DPC engages the participation of young UAE nationals for volunteering roles.
Dubai Press Club has also drawn upon their perspectives to shape the agenda for a panel discussion that brings together young Emirati achievers to share their views on latest trends in the media sector.
The Arab Media Forum has garnered year-on-year success through the past 10 editions, validating Dubai and the UAE’s ability to host such high-profile events that draw a significant international media presence.