Conference in Abu Dhabi:Vision of a new Arab media [Archives:2005/807/Community]

January 13 2005

Abu Dhabi, January 11 (YT & DPC) – In an unprecedented level of clarity and transparency, the UAE has hosted a conference on the new Arab media and how it should be reborn to cope with the global information revolution.

His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defense, has urged media organizations to play an active role in catalyzing the process of reform in the Arab world.

He called on Arab leaders to promote freedom of speech and to protect the intellectuals, accept other opinions and to support creativity and new ideas.

In his opening address at the 10th Conference of Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) that opened in Abu Dhabi (9 Jan. 2005) under the title “Arab Media in the Information Age”, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed warned that the slow response of the Arab media to deal with its own issues in a responsible manner will open the way for the others to deal with these issues ) but from their foreign perspective and interests.

He hinted that Arab regimes should abandon their manipulation of the press to serve their agenda and let the Arab media work with fewer restrictions and with greater freedom in a responsible way.

The crown prince of Dubai called upon Arab countries to analyze their laws of press and publication and remove any articles that restrict the media's movement. He said that such laws were originally drafted to use the media in favor of regimes, which they should have been used to ensure the right of the media to gather information is guaranteed.

” ow will it [the Arab media] be able to compete when it is chained with undeveloped and obsolete systems and how can it face the satellite invasion while it is chained with some laws that control information and prevent other opinions?” he asked.

H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Minister of Information and Culture of the UAE also asserted on the need to revolutionize the way Arab media works and called it to be more responsible and ambitious in rising to international standards with higher professionalism and ethical standards.

He called upon Arab regimes to ease the pressure on media organs and help them be more independent, professional, reliable, and competitive. He also called upon Arab countries to formulate a mechanism to monitor negative coverage and reports of the Arab world, and work together to launch counter-reports to bring about the facts to the world and diminish the impact of negative rhetoric of anti-Arab media.

Conference calls for less restrictions

Conference members during the first sessions of the conference called for greater freedom for the Arab media, more training, awareness campaigns, and respect for the role that media people play in this era of global information.

In the three-day conference, working papers and speeches concentrated on the need to bring an end to the stagnancy of the Arab media, particularly the public Arab media that is controlled and run by the state, and to start a liberal movement that would maintain a high degree of freedom of media organs, taking to account the need to educate the public instead of imposing restrictions on the media.

Yemen participated in the media with a delegation of three members representing the Ministry of Information and the Private press.