Global Media Congress to shape the future of the industry

Abu Dhabi is fast emerging as an international media hub, and we are proud to be hosting the UAE’s first major event on the media industry here

By Mohamed Jalal Al Rayssi

Published: Mon 14 Nov 2022, 10:39 PM

Last updated: Mon 14 Nov 2022, 10:40 PM

The inaugural Global Media Congress (GMC) kicks off today in Abu Dhabi. Held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, and organised by Adnec Group in strategic partnership with Emirates News Agency (WAM), this event is a defining moment for the UAE and for global media.

Contrary to the tradition of hosting a standalone conference, the GMC is a multi-format platform consisting of numerous workshops for young journalists from around the world, an exhibition, an innovation hub showcasing the latest technologies in the media sector and a fascinating range of startups, media future labs for in-depth discussion on the prospects for the sector, as well as a three-day conference. The speakers and participants include top media personalities representing dozens of countries and almost every continent on earth. It is a truly global gathering in terms of representation and participation.

Over three days, the congress will see a vibrant exchange of views and perspectives on three important aspects of the media: investments, technology, and human resources. An integrated approach to the three areas will naturally bring a focus on the role of youth in the media. There are sessions scheduled in which experts will discuss major challenges faced by global media such as disinformation and fake news. The impact of social media on the industry landscape also will be analysed in detail. Critically, the GMC will be a platform for some of the world’s topmost media minds to put their heads together and reflect on the future of the sector, as well as the means by which to meet these challenges. Abu Dhabi is fast emerging as an international media hub, and we are proud to be hosting the UAE’s first major event on the media industry here.

The challenges faced by the media sector are increasingly global in nature and common to all, regardless of geography or nationality. Dialogue involving players in the media from all corners of the world is an imperative if we want to arrive at sustainable and viable solutions. The GMC seeks to differentiate itself from other media gatherings by directly facilitating such dialogue between the Global South and the Global North. We want these discussions to be candid and with no holds barred, hence the use of the Chatham House rule for certain forums such as the Media Future Labs. A White Paper anonymously compiling the main takeaways and new initiatives from these Labs will be published by WAM after the Congress, serving as a rich compendium of ideas and recommendations on the future of the media industry.

As we seek to address the issues affecting the media sector from a global perspective, we are conscious that some issues remain specific to certain environments. Certain sessions will therefore examine the media scene in different regions of the world. Take the Arab media landscape by way of example, which is by no means uniform. We see distinct variations in terms of media infrastructure, content, quality of human resources, and adoption of technology. Economic and governance factors can often account for these differences and disparities.

The UAE has proudly succeeded in forging ahead of the curve with its media infrastructure, quality of content, depth of human resources, and fast and efficient adoption of newer technologies. We have highly advanced media freezones that cater to huge media conglomerates. Local, regional, and global media outlets operate here with utmost ease.

The Emirates’ human resources in the media are perhaps unique in the world. People of 200 nationalities live in our country. They live and work here in harmony and peace, and their diversity is reflected to great extent in the media industry. Technologically, even our most traditional media outlets are successfully adopting the latest trends and modes of transmission.

We believe the UAE is an ideal location to host this truly global media gathering. As a country with a clear vision of global citizenship, we have long been at the forefront of efforts aimed at supporting less fortunate nations. The same ethos applies to our approach in the media as well. This is why, for example, WAM is welcoming some 300 young journalists from multiple continents for the GMC workshops.

The strength of the media industry and how it adapts to current and future trends is of vital importance to us all. Running until November 17 at ADNEC, the Global Media Congress is not to be missed. We look forward to welcoming you.

- Mohamed Jalal Al Rayssi is Director General, Emirates News Agency (WAM)

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