Forum... and honor!


I PARTICIPATED in the annual grand media festival, known as the “Arab Media Forum” organized by the Dubai Press Club recently. It was under the theme “Impactful Media Trends.”

The forum brought together prominent personalities from diverse fields from different countries of the Arab world to discuss a wide range of topics.

The organization was as impressive as other usual events that are held in Dubai.

The forum offered me a good opportunity to communicate and interact with distinguished figures from various fields and attend symposia in which I listened to the introductory speech of friend Mamoun Fandy, who analyzed the new Middle East with a media vision and Professor Sawsan Al-Shaer talking about new media dimensions.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Al-Khalifa reviewed the political situation in the region in a smooth and direct manner. There were also remarkable and laudable contributions by Nayla Tueni, editor-in-chief of the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar. Ibtisam Al-Ketbi, Nadim Qutish, Nabil Al-Hamar, Fawaz Gerges and other major names in the Arab media added a lot of sparkle to the event. But is there really something called Arab media? Who speaks in the name of Arab media? Is it the official government media or private media? There are also Arabic-speaking media from non-Arab countries, such as the Arabic-language satellite channels from China, Turkey, Iran, Germany, France, Russia, America, Korea and Japan. The Arab media was strongly portrayed as a term in the 1970s and 1980s mainly through advertising companies, to direct advertisers from multinational companies to promote specific “Lebanese” publications and categorize them exclusively as Arab media, although their total distribution was never more than the Al-Ahram newspaper readership, which was never classified by them.

Arab media was elitist with regards to the cultural and economic capacity. Today it has turned into populist media. The problem of the Arab media is in its identity. It “believes” that it is a fourth pillar, but in the absence of effective action of the first three pillars, there will be no effective presence of the fourth in any case. The Arab media is suffering from noise and futility in its transitional phase as it is undergoing changes because of the modern technology that would gradually replace the old traditional media.

The new media, on the other hand is trying to establish its identity and create its new identity in a sustainable manner. All of these challenges were presented openly and transparently among specialists and opinions varied but in a respectable manner. The Arab Media Forum succeeded in presenting vital and crucial issues facing the media sector in a professional manner while showcasing excellence and vulnerabilities at the same time, and how remarkable was the recognition of Khaled Almaeena, the pioneer of English journalism in the Arab world, through Arab News (newspaper). It’s an appropriate tribute to a giant in his field, who performed greatly and succeeded meritoriously by shaping English media to its present strength and providing a direction of covering national events to project the Kingdom’s image.