CAIRO: A group of experts met on Monday to discuss the role of the Arab media in helping to achieve the sustainable-development goals for 2030 adopted by all UN member states in 2015.
The meeting, the group’s second, was held at the Arab League offices in Cairo and chaired by Turki Al-Omari, the director of media operations responsible for the Arab League file at the Saudi Ministry of Media.
During his opening speech, he said the participants would discuss the Arab media’s plans relating to sustainable-development goals, with the aim of enhancing engagement by media outlets with issues approved by the Council of Arab Information Ministers in 2017 in response to the diverse needs of member states.
He added that the Arab media is an effective partner in sustainable development because it provides the primary mechanism connecting governments with the people in the region. It therefore has a significant role to play in monitoring, reporting and stimulating discussion about the dangers facing societies and educating the public about development skills and policy.
Al-Omari also stressed the importance to the media of using social-media platforms to contribute to the achievement of sustainable-development goals.
Qais Al-Azzawi, the league’s assistant secretary-general, who oversees media and communications for the organization, stressed the importance of a unified Arab voice abroad, emphasizing the necessity to restructure the Arab media to best reach and engage with a global audience.
He highlighted the important role the Arab media will play in achieving sustainable-development goals in the coming decade, and the need to help identify and assist experts who have the ability to build and develop an Arab discourse the outside world understands, especially in light of the deliberate distortion of Arab and Islamic issues.
Dr. Fawzi Al-Ghuwail, director of The Arab Information Ministers Council’s Technical Secretariat, said that the meeting complements and continues the work started during the first meeting of the team, the recommendations of which included the formation of a subcommittee comprising members of the core team. This smaller group has been assigned the task of setting a three-year timetable for the translation of themes and ideas into a set of activities and programs to enhance the work of the Arab media in the field of sustainable development.
During Monday’s meeting, the subcommittee presented the final draft of a plan it has prepared, taking into account the proposals received from member states, for discussion before submitting it to the 12th regular session of the Executive Office of the Arab Information Ministers Council and then Arab information ministers.