IGCF 2021: 'Govt must combine old and new ways of communication'

Afkar Abdullah /Sharjah Filed on September 27, 2021
Minister Omar Sultan Al Olama and other panellists during a session at the 10th International Government Communication Forum on Monday. — Supplied photo

UAE minister says authorities must harness the power of AI to stay ahead in the race

Communication is key in ensuring success of government policies, panellists said at a session on the second day of the 10th International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) in Sharjah on Monday.

Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, said: “While speed of communication is important in the digital age, quality of content cannot be undermined. The effectiveness of communication is essentially a reflection of its quality. This is where the government should focus on, to ensure the quality of content reaching the public.”

Al Olama also said authorities must harness the power of AI to stay ahead in the race. “Artificial intelligence is increasingly shaping the world we live in. An example of this can be seen in how we receive sponsored content while browsing the Internet. It is specially tailored for us as individuals via various AI aggregators closely following our online activity,” he said.

During the session, many current and former officials said that the utilisation of government communication tools is relevant and essential in keeping the public informed and ensuring successful implementation of policies.

Sir Craig Oliver, British journalist and former government official, opined that the world is currently facing a pivotal time for change. “The name of the game still lies in the ability to influence people. Over the last few months, the UK’s success in dealing with these extraordinary times has resulted from how the nation has managed to communicate our messages effectively across all channels. We need to fully grasp how to handle social media, making it work to our benefit and advantage.”

The panellists agreed that with the introduction of newer concepts such as social media platforms, government communication departments should continue combining existing techniques with new media tools and platforms to raise awareness and keep the public informed. Sakher Marwan Dudin said information should be properly handled and disseminated to the public, while calling on government officials to listen to what the public has to say. This, he said, would give them an idea of what is needed and what should be done.

Former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves pointed out the importance of making government services more readily available online. “Governments need to fortify their digital identities. We also need to constantly invest in technology, prompting us to jump out of the backwardness and be at the forefront,” he said.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, attended the sessions.

Afkar Abdullah

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