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06 June 2023

Dubai is one of world’s greatest cosmopolitan centres: Wan-Ifra Chief

By Eudore R Chand

Dubai is one of the world’s greatest cosmopolitan centres, according to the President of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra).

“Dubai is a metropolis of magical towers that lead towards heavens,” said Jacob Mathew, in his keynote address at the 8th Middle East Conference.

The meet was graced by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai.

The Wan-Ifra conference coincides with the visit of a delegation representing the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the inter-governmental organisation based in Paris, which is responsible for World Expo. The emirate is one of the contenders for World Expo 2020.

Mathew described the emirate as an “amazing example of all-round growth. Dubai is a futuristic city… a hub for finance and tourism.”

He said the media community “thanks this generous city for its warm hospitality.”

The Wan-Ifra President honoured Dubai Media Incorporated as one of its most supportive regional partners. Dhaen Shaheen, Director General of DMI for Press Affairs and Editor-in-Chief of Al Bayan Arabic daily newspaper, received the plaque from Mathew.

The two-day conference is being held under the theme of ‘The sky is not the limit’, at the JW Marriott hotel in Dubai.

The first session on Tuesday, entitled ‘Middle East in 60 minutes’ featured some of the best names from the regional media industry, and included Ahmad Al Hammadi, CEO for Commercial and Marketing Affairs at DMI; Khalid Al Sayed, Editor-in-Chief of The Peninsula of Qatar; Waleed Kattan, Director General of Okaz Organisation of Saudi Arabia; Madi Abdullah Al Khamees, General Secretary of Arab Media Forum of Kuwait; Mohammed Alayyan, Publisher and Chairman of United Jordan Press which brings out Al Ghad newspaper; Rania Al Malky, Publisher of The Egypt Monocle and Mohammed Al Hammadi, Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic, UAE.

In his presentation, Ahmad Al Hammadi of DMI, said media in the UAE has gone through three phases – the first was the traditional media model of the pre-Internet days, then the Internet-related days of the 1990s and the current phase in which the media is being impacted by the technological revolution.

“With smart phones, iPads, Twitter and FaceBook etc, technology is leading the media,” said Al Hammadi, pointing out that media institutions need to embrace the technology to survive.

Dr Mario Garcia, CEO and Founder of the US-based Garcia Media Group, talked about the ‘Media Quartet’, which comprises the mobile phone and the destop [online] media and the printed newspaper and the tablet.

The first two provide breaking news and the other two are for lean-back reading, he said.

He advised media institutions to incorporate all four in their strategies.

Tuesday’s sessions were devoted mainly to print newspapers. Wednesday will see more of a focus on digital media.