IGCF 2021: UAE Covid media briefing team, Dr Farida Al Hosani honoured

Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector. File photo
Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector. File photo

Sharjah - Award highlighted the exceptional work of institutions and individuals in the government communications field


Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Tue 28 Sep 2021, 5:48 PM

The UAE government media briefing team and Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokesperson of the UAE health sector, received special mention, as the winners of the 8th edition of the Sharjah Government Communication Award (SGCA), were honoured at the 10th International Government Communication Forum (IGCF).

The award highlighted the exceptional work of institutions and individuals in the government communications field.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairman of Sharjah Media Council, commended the winners in 16 categories on the concluding day of IGCF at Expo Centre, Sharjah.

The jury of the award, organised by the International Government Communication Centre (IGCC), a subsidiary of the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), previously shortlisted 46 finalists to be recognised across SGCA’s 16 categories.

Speaking at the ceremony, Tariq Saeed Allay, director general of Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), said: “Over the course of the two-day forum, whenever we took note of a unique idea, we asked ourselves how this would impact the performance of institutions and government bodies in their discourse with the public. Through this, we can see the complementary relationship between IGCF and SGCA.”

He said the award is “a celebration of Sharjah’s unique and comprehensive journey built on a distinguished relationship between the government and the community, and between institutions and the public.”

Allay added: “The award is also a celebration of partnerships between government communication departments and concerned entities, which help foster effective and successful communication. I extend my sincere congratulations to the winners for their experiences and values that undoubtedly will expand our knowledge and help us on our journey of building a government communication system with a unified culture and goals.”

Advancing communication

E Mohammed Jalal Al Raisi, head of the SGCA jury committee, thanked His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, for his continued support and vision to expand the knowledge and talents of individuals. “Over these eight editions, SGCA has set new standards that have helped government communications. This was evident even in the high-calibre submissions received by the award,” he pointed out. “The awards received 403 submissions. The jurors shortlisted 212 nominees, including 183 from the UAE and 29 from various countries. Of these, 46 finalists eventually competed in the award’s 16 categories, 12 of which are nominated, three selected by SGCA jurors, and one through online public voting.”

He pointed out that the high volume of submissions, especially for the ‘Best Crisis Response’ category is a clear indicator of how institutions are responding to change and keeping pace with the current circumstances that require prompt communication with communities and offering services to those in need.

“The announcement of the winners coincides with the 10th anniversary of IGCF, which has launched initiatives and developed tools and methodologies that reflect Sharjah’s vision for the future of government communication on both the regional and international levels. We want to remember the late Ibrahim Al Abed, chairman of the SGCA award jury committee, who had contributed immensely to the development and advancement of the media and cultural sectors locally, regionally, and internationally,” he added.

Special honour

At the awards ceremony, the jury committee honoured the UAE Government media briefing team and Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson of the UAE Health Sector, for their tremendous efforts in responding to public needs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The complete list of SGCA 2021 winners:

>> Best public communication initiative:

Sharjah Police’s Remote e-Visit Service won the Best Public Communication Initiative category in recognition of its role in enhancing family cohesion between prison inmates and their families and thus contributing to their emotional stability. The smart platform was launched in collaboration with Sharjah Social Service Department to provide safe and secure communication channels between the inmates and their families.

>> Best crisis response

The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) was the winner in this category for their timely ‘Salam Beirut’ initiative, an emergency aid and relief campaign announced shortly after the tragic explosion that shook the Lebanese capital of Beirut. Working with a network of regional and international partners, TBHF demonstrated its capability to identify the challenges and lifesaving needs in a crisis and deploy effective emergency relief measures to offer support for those impacted by the tragedy.

>> Best practices in government communication

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship won in this category for its Population Register and Identity Card programme - a pioneering national project that forms part of the key development projects in the UAE.

>> Best system supporting government communication – UAE

The human resources department of the Ras Al Khaimah Government won this category for developing an inclusive government communication ecosystem based on human resources and modern technology.

>> Ideal employee for government communication

Lieutenant Colonel Rashid Al Jabri, director of government communications department at Dubai Police, won for his pioneering initiatives, including the government communication directory which facilitates communication between Dubai Police employees and other entities in the emirate.

>> Best government communication through new media – Arab world

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention was honoured for its agility and ability to communicate with the public through a range of communication channels and platforms that helped raise awareness about the ministry’s activities, campaigns, services, and programmes, among the target audience.

>> Best social media influencer – Arab world

Emirati influencer Mohammed Al Kaabi was the winner in this category for his positive role in creating impactful content that aligns with the fundamentals of modern digital publishing. Raghda Al Saeed from Egypt and Bader Al Issa from Kuwait were named second and third place winners, respectively.

Best idea for engaging future generations in the Arab world:

The Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination won for its influential campaign ‘Be the Change’ — an awareness campaign seeking to change perceptions about people of determination and their potential, and highlight their role in development, thus helping create a global change movement.

>> Best youth initiative in government communication

The award was won by the ‘Khair Jalees’ book initiative, which created a team to help promote a reading culture among non-Arabs by summarising and enabling the viewing of prominent best-sellers. The idea was developed by four Emirati young men who have a passion for reading and education.

>> Best photo/video in government communication – global

Mohammed Ali Al Mannai was named the winner in this category for his photograph ‘The Lost Girl’ about a young Emirati girl who was reported missing in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The award highlights the impact and power of social media to mobilise public opinion and achieve the target objective in a short time.

>> Best practices for dealing with the Coronavirus crisis

All five shortlisted nominees shared the award in this category – the Dubai Police, Sharjah Police, Abu Dhabi Police, Abu Dhabi Civil Defence Authority, and the Ministry of Health and Prevention. The award honoured their vital role in handling the Covid-19 pandemic, and their effective communication with the public.

>> Best practices for dealing with fake news

The Abu Dhabi Police won in this category for the community safety and counteracting rumours and fake news file, through which Abu Dhabi Police developed a media policy for official spokespersons, a social media policy, and a comprehensive mechanism highlighting all communication procedures with social media followers.

>> Special categories’ awards

This year’s committee decided to honour winners in three special categories, locally and regionally – best media briefing team, best official spokesperson in the UAE and best media programme in the Arab region.

>> Best media briefing team – UAE

All nominees – namely the Emirates News Agency (WAM), National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), Abu Dhabi Media, and the UAE Government Media Office – shared the award in this category in acknowledgment of their communication efforts during the Covid-19 crisis.

>> Best official spokesperson – UAE

Dr Farida Al Hosani was recognised for her role in communicating key Covid-19 related messages during the periodic media briefings.

>> Best media programme – Arab region

The ‘Ma’kom Mona El Shazly’ programme, presented by Egyptian talk show host Mona El Shazly, was recognised for its role in highlighting creative experiences in all fields.

>> Best community impact initiative – UAE

The ’Don’t Worry’ campaign launched by UAE’s National Programme for Happiness and Wellbeing (NPHW) was named the winner in this category. The campaign was a global model in crisis management and supporting community members.

>> Recommendations of the jury

The jury committee recommended that the scope of participation in the Fake News category be broadened to include the private sector, and has called for the introduction of a new category named ‘Best Technology Utilisation to Combat Fake News’ to target media entities that play a key role in training and fact-checking.

The jury also recommended honouring entities that develop academic programmes, and organisations that keep pace with digital transformation, as well as new categories for media briefing teams and official spokespersons.


More news from UAE