UAE media leaders have defined a new path forward to cope with the dramatic changes facing the sector and achieve the UAE’s ambitions, cementing the country’s leadership status, according to the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He was speaking at the Future of Media Retreat, organised today by the National Media Council, NMC.
The retreat, held in Abu Dhabi, defined concrete initiatives to ensure the future growth and international influence of the media, befitting the UAE’s leadership position in the world community.
"I have great confidence in our national media sector’s potential to uphold its mission and protect our national assets, to preserve our social values and to establish the UAE’s international leadership. It is an immense responsibility and the challenges are numerous. Nevertheless, our faith in the sector’s ability to overcome them is even greater," His Highness added.
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid went on to say, "Our Founding Father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan has taught us dedication and determination in the face of challenges. During this Year of Zayed, we call on our national media to come together and work as a team to overcome all challenges and to re-energise the sector to live up to its objective of advancing the UAE’s position on the international stage and relaying its humanitarian message to the world."
The Future of Media retreat brought together leaders and representatives from across the UAE media landscape along with top government officials, educators and influencers to debate the challenges facing the media sector and define a roadmap forward for growth and global engagement.
An intensive brainstorming by representatives of each sector, including Arabic and English language newspapers, broadcast media and digital media as well as government communications officials, academics, and members of the youth councils, focused on four main topics: The role of media in promoting the UAE’s position globally; technology in the service of traditional and new media; evaluation of the current media sector and its aspirations; and the role of UAE nationals as a key talent in the future of the UAE media. Participants examined the four themes, looking into related topics such as print and digital publications, official TV and radio stations, social media and government communications platforms, communications faculties at universities, and the youth’s role in building the future of the media sector.
The attendees arrived at 40 key initiatives that would set the UAE media on a new footing in the new digital era. As part of the effort, the NMC launched a joint action plan to restructure the UAE media sector and incorporate the proposed initiatives.
The initiatives included the creation of a national training academy to build a new generation of media leaders, as well as the formation of a mechanism to tackle fake and misleading news. Attendees also proposed the establishment of new interactive media platforms, as well as the creation of a program of media community ambassadors to ensure engagement among the UAE’s diverse cultural communities.
Among the dignitaries who attended the brainstorming were H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State and NMC Chairman, and Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.
Dr. Sultan Al Jaber expressed the NMC’s gratitude to H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, H.H. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan for attending the Retreat, noting that "this reflects the leadership’s encouragement of a vibrant media sector and its role in shaping the future of the UAE and promoting its international status. Our leaders have called for cooperation and teamwork as key to developing the sector and advancing national media talent."
"The National Media Council has organised this retreat to set the foundations for a new era of media operations in the UAE," the NMC Chairman explained. "This reflects our conviction that the development of the media sector is a shared national responsibility for media institutions, relevant authorities and digital media influencers. And with that in mind, we have invited experts representing the various components of the media sector in the UAE to take part in today’s retreat."
"The rapid developments sweeping across the global media sector, coupled with the UAE’s aspirations to build a national media sector capable of carrying out its strategic objectives and meeting the requirements of the UAE Centennial 2071 plan, require all of us to work together and address the challenges and opportunities facing media in the country. We must reach a realistic evaluation of our capacities and develop means of improving them in order to build the future media sector that the leadership aspires to," Dr. Al Jaber added.
"Today, the UAE media embarks on a new chapter in building its future," Dr. Al Jaber said, underlining the importance of investing in young Emirati media professionals, in whom the Council places great confidence in as the driving force for the media sector of the future.
The Future of Media Retreat was the largest event of its kind ever held for the UAE media sector, and coincides with UAE Innovation Month, bringing together more than 100 media leaders and experts representing diverse stakeholders within the media sectors, to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the media, and outline a development roadmap reflecting the UAE’s cultural achievements and ambitions, and empowering youth to build a better future for the sector.
The proposed initiatives covering all components of the media sector in the country, are set to be implemented through the "Future Media Makers" initiative, which the NMC announced at the conclusion of the event.
The "Future Media Makers initiative was announced as one of the key takeaways from the Retreat. The initiative seeks to formulate an action plan to transform the various ideas, suggestions and initiatives put forth during the NMC’s retreat into a reality engaging all components of the media sector. With this initiative, the National Media Council will work to establish an integrated system that includes all media stakeholders, and tackle media-related issues along four major themes: 1. The Role of Media in Promoting the UAE’s Position Globally Under this theme, the Council will work on developing joint frameworks and initiatives to strengthen the UAE’s status, support its soft power and consolidate its image as a major player contributing to the promotion of security, peace, stability, development and human civilisation.
2. Technology in the Service of Traditional and New Media A group of experts and decision makers from across the media sector will develop new and innovative programmes to employ technology in the service of traditional and new media in order to develop rich and diverse content that meets the needs of all segments of society, and highlights the country’s cultural achievements.
3. Evaluation of the Current Media Sector and Its Aspirations A team of representatives from various sectors will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the current state of the media sector, examining its compatibility with future aspirations and developing frameworks to take the sector into the future.
4. The Role of UAE Nationals as a Key Talent in the Future of the UAE Media One of the most important topics of the debate, this theme will be tackled by several groups that include the youth among their ranks. These groups will work to develop a framework that engages young nationals and empowers them to assume their critical role in the media sector and the future industry.
Dr. Al Jaber thanked participants in the Retreat, applauding them for focusing on topics of interest that pertain to the development of the media sector, and working to develop initiatives and solutions to transform challenges into opportunities. The NMC Chairman outlined the priorities that will mark the Council’s strategies for the future, which seek to empower the media, considering the sector’s role in reflecting a positive image of the UAE and conveying its achievements to audiences around the region and the world.
Concluding the event, Dr. Al Jaber stressed that the media race has started and only the best-equipped will remain in it. He thanked all participants for heeding the National Media Council’s call and coming forward with ideas and opinions. These debates, he noted, were a source of optimism and hope for a promising future for the media sector – a future that meets the aspirations of the UAE and the requirements of the UAE Centennial 2071 plan, which seeks to make the UAE first in the world across all sectors.