Published — Wednesday 15 May 2013
Last update 17 May 2013 9:42 pm
The Arab world needs a new media landscape to free itself from corruption, politics and vested interests, Arab Media Forum was told yesterday.
Speakers at the forum also discussed the role of print media and its sustainability in the face of the emergence of various digital platforms.
Maha Abouelenein, head of communications, MENA, Google, said that the Internet did not kill the newspaper industry. “In fact, it helped democratize contents. We have to reinvent newspaper industry, new audience and new readers,” she said.
Samir Husni, president and CEO, Magazine Consulting and Research, USA, said that none of the newspapers, which went online, survived. “That’s a lesson the hopefuls should take into consideration while adopting new media. It’s the content and content alone that will decide their survival. Print media will survive with support from governments,” he said.
Another speaker, Khalid Al-Firm, professor of political media at the Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University in Saudi Arabia said: “The Arab media is in a coma.”
“Rampant corruption, political control and commercial interests coupled with the emergence of the social media is taking its toll on the Arab media. Lies are no longer marketable. There is a need for a new Arab media landscape that will be based on objective journalism and support the rebuilding of Arab societies and reforms,” Al-Firm said.
Hamlinha Baraasi, writer and media personality from Libya, said her country’s media scene is very chaotic. “Although the global media played a great role in reflecting on the revolution in Libya, the present scenario is very chaotic as far as the media landscape is concerned.”
Rakan Al Majali, former Jordanian minister of state for media affairs and communications, said the Arab media is in a state of explosion. “We need to rebuild our mindset. Arab media should be frank and honest with itself.”
“We have recently established a higher committee to reform the media sector in Tunisia,” Kamel Labidi, President, National Commission to Reform Information and Communication, Tunisia, said. “However, the political will to reform the media is not there.