Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), spoke about the critical role of the media in her keynote address at the second edition of the Young Arab Media Leaders programme.
Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Vice Chair of the Arab Youth Centre (AYC), also spoke at the event. In her speech, she praised the considerable experience of Al Marri, and her efforts to share her insights with participants of the programme. Al Mazrui thanked GDMO for supporting the programme and the development and training of a new generation of media leaders.
In her keynote address delivered on the fourth day of the programme, Al Marri stressed on the importance of professionalism and objectivity in the media profession as well as the critical need for journalists to broaden their knowledge in order to deliver accurate information to the audience. She also spoke about the Arab media landscape amidst the current challenges faced by the region. To deal with the current challenges it is necessary to raise the awareness of the public on various issues through balanced media messages, she said. The region’s voice and message should be conveyed to global audiences through social media platforms.
Al Marri shared a number of statistics on the growth and penetration of social media platforms and its impact. The number of users of various social media platforms exceeds 3 billion globally. She also highlighted the challenges involved in the use of social media such as the spread of fake news. She advised the young attendees of the event to be aware of fake news and urged them to spread awareness about it in the community.
Speaking about new media trends, Al Marri highlighted the changes happening in the media landscape due to technological developments. She spoke about podcasts and over-the-top (OTT) content. Over the top (OTT) is a term used to refer to content providers that distribute streaming media as a standalone product directly to viewers over the Internet, bypassing telecommunications, multichannel television, and broadcast television platforms. Major players such as Netflix and Amazon are competing with each other to invest in OTT video. Another key player, Apple, has announced multibillion dollar investments in this area. She also said that media and entertainment industries are set to generate revenues of USD2.4 trillion by the year 2020.
Al Marri further said that people who want to be part of the media industry should have three essential qualities. These include ethics and values, passion for knowledge and curiosity, in addition to charisma and strong personality.
The programme, which will feature a series of events organised across the UAE over the next fortnight, is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chair of the AYC. The programme aims to sharpen the skills of young media professionals and enhance their knowledge of the industry.
The programme is supported by a number of media partners, including the National Media Council, Media Zone Authority (twofour54), Dubai Media City, GDMO, Thomson Reuters, CNN, Sky News Arabia and The National, among others.