GCF 2012 Examines role of visual Media

SHARJAH - Television journalists and government officials should not be afraid to discuss matters of public importance in an honest and engaging way, according to Turki Al Dakhil, Founder and Owner of Al Mesbar Studies and Research Center, a Dubai-based cultural think tank.

By (WAM)

Published: Mon 27 Feb 2012, 9:25 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:44 PM

He added: “However, a majority of television audiences in the Arab world still confuse opinions expressed by government officials as news. If spokespersons are not properly prepared to face the media, they often fall into the trap of talking about their achievements without really addressing the needs and concerns of the audience. It is essential not to lose focus from the topic in question.”

Al Dakhil’s comments came during a session titled ‘Role of Visual Media in Supporting Government Institutions’ Vision of Social Development’ on the second day of the Government Communication Forum 2012. Attended by leading government officials and top-tier regional and global media thought leaders, the event that began on 26 February will conclude today at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Zaven Kouyoumdjian, Lebanese TV celebrity, talk-show host and producer of the popular programme ‘Siree Wenfatahet’ on Future TV, jointly headlined the session that deliberated on ways to attract and engage the audience from the media and government communications perspective.

Kouyoumdjian said: “We should remember that the human mind tends to forget a majority of the information received from various media channels on a daily basis. Only the most interesting facts are retained and recalled. Some issues attract more television audiences than others because of the efficient use of marketing and publicity tools by government entities. It is important, therefore, that governments take heed of this simple fact.”

Pointing out that media audiences have become more sophisticated in the Arab world, Kouyoumdjian said the situation demands professionals to remain current with the changing media landscape. Towards this end, he has taken up university studies after 20 years since graduation to witness the current generation’s views on media.

Kouyoumdjian added: “The journalist should know the difference between public relations and media. This will allow for striking a balance between what the audience wants and what is journalistically objective.”

The experts concurred that media across all platforms in the Arab world is witnessing dynamic changes and will continue to grow in the coming years. The region has seen the launch of several new government and private media initiatives in 2009. Furthermore, knowledge sharing opportunities with other more developed media markets have been initiated suggesting further growth in both media and audience demographics in the region.

Turki Al Dakhil has contributed to founding the Al Arabiya News Channel and Al Arabiya portal that he led until end-2007. He has been presenting the weekly talk show ‘Edaat’ on Al Arabiya TV since September 2002. Author of a significant body of work, including features and books, he has contributed to instituting the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. Al Dakhil is also the recipient of several awards and was chosen by the Arabian Business magazine as one of the 100 most influential Arabic figures during 2007 – 2010.

Zaven Kouyoumdjian, author of bestseller ‘Lebanon & Lebanon’, has been named as one of the 43 most influential people in the Middle East by Newsweek (2005). His live coverage of ‘Grapes of Wrath’ won him the prestigious Honors Certificate of the Lebanese Press Order. In 1997, he received the Appreciation Certificate of the United Nations Development Program for Sustainable Development for his work in 5/7 Tele Liban’s longest running talk show in the 1990s.

Set to become an annual event, the first edition of the forum hosted a series of panel discussions and workshops, in addition to spotlighting Sharjah Media Centre and its mandate to develop and oversee communicational best practices for the government institutions in Sharjah.

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