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TECOM Investments strengthens ties with UK business community
posted on 11/12/2014

TECOM Investments recently visited the UK to present its innovation vision and strategy to an international audience and target companies, in line with the recently announced UAE and Dubai National Innovation Strategy.
During the trip to London, a delegation from TECOM Investments, led by Malek Al Malek, CEO of TECOM Business Parks, which included Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource Zone and Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director of TECOM's Media Cluster, hosted UK companies from across the media, ICT and education sectors at a business and networking event. Malek Al Malek presented TECOM Investments' innovation strategy to the companies, who are potentially looking to expand their operations to Dubai, and drew upon TECOM Investments' new innovation initiatives as well as the wider benefits of doing business in Dubai and the Middle East.
TECOM Investments recently announced innovation-focused initiatives include the creation of Dubai Internet City's new Innovation Hub which will provide 1.6 million sq. ft. of dedicated space to around 15,000 knowledge and creative workers, as well as Dubai Design District's Creative Community. TECOM Investments will work closely with British and international companies to promote entrepreneurship and innovation, pioneer the development of new technologies and partnerships, and provide support services for London businesses setting up in Dubai.
The delegation also met with senior directors from London's Google Campus as well as from Level 39, Canary Wharf's innovative technology hub for start-ups, where the delegation exchanged ideas and best practice about ways to drive innovation and entrepreneurship. The delegation also heard first-hand about Level 39's innovation and accelerator programmes, and discussed ways to drive innovation within in5, DIC's innovation centre.
TECOM Investments is home to 4,500 companies across the ICT, Media, Education, Industrial and Sciences industries, with the majority of its European business partners from the UK, including the BBC, and British Telecom.
Bilateral trade between the UAE and UK has significantly surpassed the US$18.5bn target for 2015, and the two countries are working closely across all areas of business including financial and professional services, education, healthcare and infrastructure.
On the occasion, Malek Al Malek, CEO of TECOM Business Parks, said, "Innovation and entrepreneurship are the engines of future economic growth, and in line with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's new innovation strategy and focused initiatives, we will continue to share best practice and ideas with international companies as well as global technology hubs going forward to drive Dubai's transition into an innovation-led economy.
"We are delighted to have also met with executives from UK companies who are exploring growth opportunities in the Middle East. Through the creation of industry specific infrastructure and business communities, TECOM Investments has attracted companies from around the world, including many well-known British companies, and the trip reflects our desire to further strengthen ties with the UK.
"With the recent launch of Dubai Internet City's new development, the Innovation Hub, we look forward to attracting more innovation specific centres, incubators, creative firms and entrepreneurs/ start-ups." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohammed bin Rashid: We expect our media to lead and keep up with the comprehensive development of the country
posted on 27/11/2014

Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has called local media organisations to continue their efforts in developing content and product of Emirati media to match the comprehensive development march taking place in the country and to bear in mind the citizens' best interest and needs.
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid indicated the national achievements in economy and government services and requested media community to pick up equivalent development processes. He also called media to keep up with best international practices, attract international competences, utilise latest technologies and foster young Emirati talents.
His Highness expressed his gratitude and appreciation for local media and its significant role. He also stressed on their significant role in preparing young Emiratis and giving them the opportunities to acquire the required skills. Sheikh Mohammed also encouraged local media organisations to prepare the second the third tiers of leadership.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid asserted that to develop the Emirati media we must count on the efforts and innovation of young Emiratis capable of taking our media to new horizons during the next phase.
"We expect our media to lead and open doors for our young talents. As we need creative engineers, doctors and managers, we also need creative journalists and media workers. I would like to see young media leaders in the second and third tiers," said H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.
He also expressed great confidence in Emirati media organisations.
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid made his comments during the official inauguration of the second edition of the Emirati Media Forum (EMF). He was accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Media Inc.
Held at the Emirates Towers, the forum attracted a host of writers, journalists, thinkers, editors in chief, senior officials from local media organisations and international media figures.
Organised under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the one day forum discusses several local media issues including the development of media content, the future of local media and the public's expectations. The forum also presents the unique experience of Abu Dhabi media in the field of Emiratisation. The forum also case-presents and discusses the creditability and the emerging role of social media in spreading rumours.
During the opening session, U.A.E. Minister of State and Chairman of Sky News Arabia, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, delivered the opening speech. Al Jaber asserted that the U.A.E. local media needs to become proactive and anticipative, provide deep analysis and interpretation for the current events, under carry its social and cultural responsibilities, deliver our message and voice to the world and reflects our sound peaceful culture.
Minister Al Jaber said that the local media is expected to take the initiative, duple the effort to reflect accurate image about our values and take an active role in presenting the reality of our religion, traditions and civilisation.
He added that the leadership has paved the way for us to excel in various sectors, take the lead and be the happiest nation. He indicated that all these achievements came real due to the vision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces.
Minister Al Jaber said, "Over the past years, U.A.E. media has registered many successes and achievements and we need to adopt balanced and objective strategy that shall contribute in enhancing and bolstering U.A.E. creditability regionally and internationally".
"When I call for a proactive role, I do not mean exaggeration but rather I call our national media to be an icon for ethics and professionalism" Al Jaber urged the U.A.E. media to explain and echo the government's political views and promote the global positions of U.A.E..
For her part, Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office and Chairperson of Dubai Press Club, Mona Ghanem Al Marri expressed her gratitude to U.A.E. Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his continues support to the media sector, particularly media persons. Al Marri also noted the significant role of U.A.E. media in the development process of the United Arab Emirates ever since its establishment 43 years ago.
In her speech, Al Marri pointed out to the challenges facing the local and international media, namely the challenges presented to traditional media by social media, which have introduced new wave of competitions. She also touched on possible answers to challenges posed by social media, which can be encapsulated in creating good content, increasing interactivity and attracting the youth who constitute two-thirds of social media users.
Al Marri called on local media institutions to give media students more opportunity to partake in shaping the local media. She also emphasised on the importance of having confidence in young people's creative skills and innovative ideas.
The Emirati Media Forum, an initiative of Dubai Press Club (DPC), was launched in 2013 with aim of providing an out-of-the-box dialogue platform that looks into Emirati media and, in the same time, facilitate a fertile ground for young Emirati talents to come face to face with media professionals and elites. The DPC's Emirati Media Forum focuses on U.A.E. domestic media, taking into consideration its interaction with the regional and international media through dedicating such unique platforms as the Arab Media Forum and the Arab Journalism Award to discuss on issues impacting regional and international socio- political scenario.
Concluding the opening session, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid posed group photos with the officials of EMF's strategic partner, Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), EMF's official partner, Etisalat, EMF media partner, Abu Dhabi Media, as well as with the Dubai Press Club team. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014 calls for a fully connected world
posted on 21/11/2014

Chief Executive Officer of twofour54, Noura Al Kaabi, has wrapped up the 2014 edition of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit (ADMS) by telling delegates that with 7 billion connected individuals forecast by 2020, the media and e-commerce industry may soon be managers of the world's largest and most relevant "mall".
The speech provided an optimistic and forward-looking conclusion to a third and final day of lively, insightful discussions between industry leaders and innovators.
Al Kaabi praised the high calibre and diversity of the speakers, and encouraged all ADMS guests to play their part in driving and sustaining a future media in MENA and beyond. The key challenges now were reaching out to those people not connected and growing and nurturing our young people so that they can fully realise their potential.
"I believe the Abu Dhabi Media Summit is a clear example of how we are all helping to build a positive profile of the Arab World. The future is bright and within the grasp of young people in the Middle East and everywhere," Al Kaabi said.
Earlier in the afternoon, a panel entitled "A Race for the Exits: The Rebound in IPOs and Dealmaking" saw speakers encouraging investors to look beyond tangible assets such as real estate and instead consider IPOs in the fast-growing technology sector.
Co-founder and Managing Director, CedarBridge, Imad Ghandour, said that "given the stability of local currencies and continuous growth of industries, the GCC has a great recipe for success", while Mona DeFrawi, Founder and Managing Partner, IPOQuest Partners, explained that "technology IPOs have high growth momentum and the ability to grow globally." Tom Urquhart, a presenter with Dubai One, moderated the next panel on "Accelerating Start-Ups", which looked at the challenges for new technology businesses in Abu Dhabi and beyond.
Ramesh Jagannathan Research Professor and Associate Dean of Engineering, NYU Abu Dhabi, told potential innovators "you have to believe you can create magic" to persuade others about the benefits of their start-ups. Nina Curley, Managing Director, Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, said that Abu Dhabi is perfectly positioned to become a dynamic global hub for entrepreneurs with "the pieces now coming together for building a viable ecosystem".
A session led by Issa Aghabi, Head of Investments at twofour54, compared the differing approach of two companies – one local and one global – to starting a business in the same sector in MENA. Magnus Olsson, Founder and Managing Director, Careem, explained that his ground transportation company focussed on providing a reliable service based on a call-centre model made accessible to local customers.
In contrast, Jambu Palaniappan, Regional General Manager of Middle East and Africa, Uber, set out his view that technology scales better than people and that companies could avoid the burdens of call centres by relying on technology. The panel generated an insightful discussion on the pros and cons of each business structure.
The final session of ADMS 2014 was an interview between Badr Jafar, Managing Director, Crescent Group and Fadi Ghandour, Founder and Vice Chairman, Aramex, on the challenges facing innovators in raising finance in the MENA region. Ghandour remarked that "innovation is the ability to take pieces of knowledge and use them to affect people's lives – the process requires a symbiotic relationship between innovators and industry". Ghandour stressed that the Arab world had to adopt more of a solutions-based mentality and do more to provide the financial and legal structures needed to support business. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Queen Rania Al Abdullah opens Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014
posted on 19/11/2014

The Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014 (ADMS) was officially opened yesterday by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan to an audience of more than 500 media industry leaders from around the globe. The theme of this year's Summit is 'Driving and sustaining a future media in MENA and beyond'.
Queen Rania delivered the opening speech with a clear message that the Arab world needs to reclaim its narrative from extremist groups in the region. "A minority of irreligious extremists is using social media to rewrite our narrative... hijack our identity and rebrand us." With images of violence and destruction from the Arab world projected on screen, Her Majesty insisted that these images do not represent the vast majority of Arabs.
"They're alien and abhorrent to the vast majority of Arabs -- Muslims and Christians. And they should make every Arab across this region seethe. Because they're an attack on our values as a people. And on our collective story." However, the Queen noted that the moderate majority of Arabs are equally to blame. "They say, a story is told as much by silence as by speech". Well, our silence speaks volumes. We are complicit in their success." But Her Majesty asserted that the fight against extremists goes well beyond that battleground and it is a fight between moderates and extremists all over the world.
"It's a fight for the future of Islam and the future of the Arab world. So, it's a fight that moderates have to win," adding that "Winning also depends on our ability to conquer the philosophical battleground as well. Because at the heart of this assault is an ideology." Queen Rania questioned the increase in the number of followers and fans of radical groups in the region. She explained that these followers are "from classrooms in which they were never challenged to think for themselves, and where they learned an outdated curriculum. From societies in which a quarter of their peers are unemployed, where there's inadequate social security to afford a life of dignity, and where opportunities to help to change the status quo are few and far between." Her Majesty added that "the only way we can save our youth from the sirens' call of extremism is to provide them with a better alternative. "The satisfaction of a job, the relief of justice, the solidarity of equality, and the fulfilment of participation. We provide real opportunities for change and advancement." Her Majesty presented the audience with the options facing the region today: "we either develop our region, or we let others dismantle it. Find solutions to the challenges, or watch the challenges avalanche. Harness the tools to drive the Arab world forward in the 21st century, or let others use those tools to drag us back to the dark ages." Education reform topped Her Majesty's to-do-list for the region: "Our strategy must be long-term. And that starts by investing in quality education for all... Education reform doesn't come cheap. But the price of ignorance is far, far greater." She gave the example of EDRAAK, an initiative that Her Majesty launched earlier this year to bring Massive Open Online Courses to the Arab world in Arabic. She also thanked His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces for his support for the initiative and noted that online learning is the best opportunity to achieve quality and modern education, which the Arab World desperately needs.
Commenting on quality education for all, Queen Rania asserted that it must include girls as well as boys. "Because educated girls strengthen their nations' economies, they prioritise the health and education of their own children and they help to build stable societies more resilient to radicalisation." She said.
Queen Rania then added that "education alone isn't the solution. We need jobs as well. Recent estimates indicate that we need to create over 100 million jobs by 2020 to absorb new entrants into the labour market."
Acknowledging the job creation challenge, Her Majesty was nonetheless optimistic about emerging opportunities in the region: "The good news is that new industries are emerging. The digital landscape is evolving. And internet connectivity and mobile technologies are creating new horizons for entrepreneurs. Arab internet users are growing at around 20 per cent annually. Mobile penetration at around 110 per cent." Her Majesty also highlighted the potential of e-commerce in the region, as well as an ICT sector that is set to hit US$20 billion in 2020.
A burgeoning technology sector. An insatiable consumer market. And a huge youth population hungry for opportunity. The conditions for explosive growth are within reach.
Talking about the resources the Arab World possess, Her Majesty said, "Our region has the values, the money, the minds, the youth, the technology, the market, the networks, and the motivation to tap into these reserves and create lasting change." Concluding her speech, Queen Rania said, "For the sake of each one of us...for Islam and the Arab world...for the future of our young people, we must create a new narrative and broadcast it to the world. Because if we don't decide what our identity is...and what our legacy will be, the extremists will do it for us." The Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, welcomed Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Sheikh Nahyan Al Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Social Development, Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and a number of media industry guests to Abu Dhabi, and reflected on the importance of the media industry to the regional economy.
"The media sector is becoming increasingly far ranging and relevant. From a regional perspective, our industry represents an ever-increasing and significant contributor to the regional economy," Al Mubarak said.
He went on to describe the market opportunity in MENA, which is being driven by the relentless increase in connectivity in the region. He gave comment on how media innovation is transforming the way students receive and engage with information, and how twofour54 is responding with a number of initiatives to support the industry's development.
"All of twofour54's investments are giving young U.A.E. Nationals unprecedented access to a thriving industry in which they can learn their craft, improve their skills, develop new ideas and help shape the media sector of the future." "Through education and training the media industry has an unrivalled potential to contribute to the development of future generations, formally and informally, directly and indirectly, in this region and globally. That is both a huge opportunity and a great responsibility," he added.
In introducing Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, he reminded the audience of Her Majesty's strong advocacy of education in the Middle East and North Africa, saying "I can think of no better person to open our Summit on the future of media in the MENA region and beyond." This year's three day programme features a series of panel discussions, interviews and presentations by seasoned industry leaders as well as new players. Each day is focused around a particular industry topic: content creation, distribution and financing.
Day two of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit - which is open to the public - will kick off tomorrow with a presentation by Facebook's Vice President of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Nicola Mendelsohn. This will be followed by a panel discussion on technology, social media and women in MENA, featuring Princess Ameera Al-Taweel, Founder and CEO of Time Entertainment and Dalya Al Munthanna, CEO of GE Gulf, among others.
Robert A. Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard will take to the stage to discuss the gaming sector, while Gerhard Zeiler President of Turner Broadcasting International will be interviewed on the future of broadcasting. In a keynote speech, CEO of Imax Corporation Richard Gelfond will address the next big thing for the big screen.
The disruptive impact of online video and the 'second screen' on the medium of television will be discussed by panellists from Twitter, Sky News Arabia, Istikana and BBC Future Media. Sam Barnett, CEO of MBC, and twofour54's Chief Legal Officer, Greg Sweeting will participate in the final panel discussion of day two, which will look combatting content piracy in the digital age.
Abu Dhabi Media Summit is one of the largest gatherings of global leaders in the field of media and has quickly established itself as an essential date on the global media leadership calendar. Powered by twofour54, the invitation-only event hosts a select number of industry leaders, building upon Abu Dhabi's position as the Arab world's creativity and media hub. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Demand for local content will spur rapid MENA media growth, says new Abu Dhabi Media Summit study
posted on 19/11/2014

Untapped demand for local, Arabic content will spur rapid regional media growth over the next five years, according to a new study unveiled at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit yesterday.
The joint study undertaken by management consultancy Strategy & and Media Zone Authority Abu Dhabi, twofour54 , also found that accelerated adoption of mobile technology, evolutions in paid and digital media, and a new wave of unique youth-produced content will be key factors in driving media growth in the region.
Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of Media Zone Authority Abu Dhabi, twofour54 , said: "The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) media industry is undergoing a fascinating transformation. Cultural shifts among the region's young people have spawned a tremendous creative energy, changing the way media is both consumed and created." The MENA media market's evolution is encouraging regional players to revisit their business models and explore investments in high-quality local content. With MENA one of the strongest opportunities for media industry growth, these findings should encourage global players to re-evaluate their presence in our region," she added.
The study looks in-depth at three key media sectors in the region: gaming, audio-visual content, and e-commerce.
Gaming set to grow exponentially "Gaming in the region is growing faster than the global average, exceeding even other fast-growing emerging markets such as Russia, China, and South Korea", said Jayant Bhargava, Partner with Strategy&, formerly Booz & Company.
"Gaming is also the fastest growing media segment in the Middle East, expected to nearly triple in size in the coming years -- from US$1.6 billion in 2014 to US$4.4 billion in 2022", he added.
During this period, growth in boxed games will slow down and mobile will become the dominant platform, taking the largest share of the market by 2018. Tablets will be key to this and should represent up to 20 percent of the mobile market within a year or two. The study expects the total gaming segment size to mirror the size of the TV market in seven to eight years.
To date, global games from international developers have captured the lion's share of opportunity, roughly 90 percent of the Arab market. However, games localised for the market are expected to capture over 15 percent of the market in three to five years. International players are expected to increasingly Arabise their content for the region. Regional developers are also localising global games and creating original games for the local market.
"The study highlights the influence of the Arab Digital Generation in driving the growth of gaming. On average, people between the ages of 18 and 24 in the region spend eight hours per week playing games. In many MENA countries, including Saudi Arabia, more than 50 percent of Internet users play games online. The digital facility of young people is contributing to the Middle East's emergence as a gaming development hub", added Bhargava.
New trends in audio-visual content The audio-visual content market in MENA is seeing many trends that could significantly change the industry. The most notable of these is the transition to paid media. Pay TV is forecast to grow at 10.3 percent per year, compared to ad-based TV's 7.8 percent. Satellite TV continues to dominate the sector, accounting for more than 95 percent of TV distribution.
The study predicts significant growth in digital delivery of audio-visual content, driven by the emergence of youth-produced content and proliferation of new distribution platforms such as IPTV and over-the-top (OTT) sites. For example EyshElly, a programme created by UTURN Entertainment, set up in 2010 by three Saudi university students, received approximately 2.2 million subscribers and 245 million views on YouTube.
The growth of e-commerce E-commerce will be a critical source of digital growth. The MENA e-commerce market was worth US$2.3 billion in 2014 and is expected to grow 13 percent annually to 2019. Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. are the dominant markets, and will continue to make up almost 40 percent of the total market to 2020.
Drivers of growth in e-commerce are similar to those in other digital segments: faster connectivity, improved supply landscape and the ubiquity of smartphones. Mobile capabilities are increasingly important - mobile commerce is expected to reach 20 percent of e-commerce revenue in 2015, up from 7 percent in 2011.
Increasing numbers of young people are contributing to e-commerce revenues. Forty percent of Internet users aged between 15 and 35 made an online purchase in 2012, compared with 22 percent of users aged between 49 and 65.
Finding the way forward The media sector in the Middle East is in the early stages of a significant evolution. Regional and international players will need to focus on four areas to help the sector reach its full potential: education, talent, infrastructure and work environment, and financing.
Education in digital media will require greater recognition and support from governments. A number of jobs in the media space did not exist a decade ago, and schools in the region are generally not offering students the background they need to pursue these careers.
In addition to education, on-the-job training is a critical component of growing the talent base. With training in technologies such as movie production, 3-D effects, gaming development, companies can vastly increase the productivity of small-scale media producers.
The growth of the media sector will also demand infrastructural and work environment changes. For example, the rise of economic zones and incubators in the region in the last 15 years has made it much simpler for global media companies to quickly ramp up operations. The availability of studio space, state-of-the-art technology, and high-speed broadband has translated into limited setup costs for companies. Media cities, such as Abu Dhabi's twofour54 , also offer a favourable regulatory environment, with incentives such as tax relief, and reduced red tape. In addition to these, large players should also consider the kind of working culture they need to create to attract the Arab Digital Generation.
Lastly, independent content producers in MENA seldom have access to content financing mechanisms prevalent in mature markets. Access to debt, slate or gap/deficit (mezzanine) financing in a structured manner will be critical to meeting the demand for quality, local Arabic content.
"Although media cities like twofour54 do offer access to advantageous financing, the MENA region still lacks the structured access to financing that developed markets can boast. The availability of more funding is critical to enable the industry to meet the skyrocketing demand for local content", concluded Al Kaabi. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


NMC conducts coordination campaign on "Digital Drugs" issue
posted on 18/11/2014

The National Media Council, NMC, has continued communication and coordination efforts with the relevant authorities to gather their opinions and suggestions on the subject of "Digital Drugs," as referenced in various media, especially social media. "Digital drugs" are an audio file or mp3 of ambient music or sounds that are enhanced with a specifically targeted binaural beat or isochronic tone frequency. This frequency is meant to replicate the cycles of particular brainwaves.
The NMC is seeking a clear image of the situation to identify procedures that can be adopted in this regard, while confirming the need for concerted efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of this issue.
Juma Obaid Al Leem, Director of the Media Content Department at NMC, said the Council had underlined the importance of providing balanced, responsible, honest media content that respects the privacy of individuals and protects various categories of the community from potentially harmful elements.
He pointed out that the NMC had already issued a special system of media content standards, in addition to regulating the content of advertisements based on proposals and visuals submitted by media outlets in the State. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014 to kicks off on Tuesday with regional, international leaders of media industry
posted on 17/11/2014

The fifth edition of Abu Dhabi Media Summit (ADMS) is kicking off on Tuesday morning, 18 November, at Rosewood Hotel, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, chaired by Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority (EAA).
This thought-provoking event will delve into important industry topics through a series of discussions attended by top-tier global media players and their emerging-market counterparts.
Commenting on this highly anticipated event, Noura Al Kaabi, Chief Executive Officer of twofour54, organisers of the summit, said, "ADMS is one of the industry's leading events that bring key players together on one platform and has quickly established itself as an essential date on the global media leadership calendar." Al Kaabi explained that the Summit will feature a unique combination of high-profile panel sessions, interviews and presentations. The Summit will also place emphasis on local participation and community engagement by offering workshops and opening its doors to the public for the first time.
:: Objectives of Abu Dhabi Media Summit.
Discussing the objectives of ADMS, Noura Al Kaabi said: "ADMS aims at further enhancing Abu Dhabi's position as a leading media hub regionally and globally. We are looking to stimulate the media industry in the region, connect it with the global network and keep up at the forefront of such a dynamic industry." "Moreover, ADMS gives those interested in the media industry an opportunity to gain insights from global industry leaders and learn more about the industry's promising future and investment challenges in MENA and beyond." :: Why is this edition of ADMS important? The CEO of twofour54 explained that the value of the fifth edition of ADMS lies in the theme of the Summit, which is ‘Driving and Sustaining Future Media in MENA and Beyond' and the focus of each day on a key topic. Day one of ADMS 2014 will discuss the importance of local content generation and the need to create home grown intellectual properties. The second day of the programme will examine content distribution, while on day three, panellists will explore innovative financing options that fast-track the creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Al Kaabi said: "ADMS 2014 brings together international top-tier leaders and entrepreneurs of the media and technology industry. It will explore opportunities to help advance the media industry in Abu Dhabi and the region with experts in venture capital and creative content." "In a first for the Summit, a special study will be launched on day one that outlines growth opportunities and challenges in the MENA region's rapidly growing media industry." As ADMS opens its doors to the public for the first time on days 2 and 3, the local audience is asked to register their names on the Summit's website to take the opportunity to engage in rich conversations and benefit from the insights of a large number of industry leaders present in the capital.
Al Kaabi added: "Flat6Labs, the strategic partner of twofour54, will officially launch its Abu Dhabi office at ADMS this year. Flat6Labs experts will share their experiences through participating in two workshops discussing "Monetising Digital Content" and the "Growing Online Education".
:: Featured Speakers.
"Queen Rania Al Abdullah will open this year's Abu Dhabi Media Summit and will give the opening keynote address. Featured speakers include Mark Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer, The New York Times Company; Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Group; Gerhard Zeiler, President, Turner Broadcasting System International; Robert A. Kotick, President and CEO, Activision Blizzard; JB Perrette, President, Discovery Networks International; Princess Ameera Al-Taweel, Founder and CEO, Time Entertainment; and H.E. Riyadh K. Najm, President, General Commission, Audiovisual Media Saudi Arabia." said Al Kaabi.
:: Key Topics.
Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of twofour54, highlighted a number of key topics that ADMS 2014 will discuss in sessions that feature industry experts including: 1. The Media in MENA: Localising and Monetising Content. Featuring: Sanjay Rania, General Manager, MENA, Fox International Channels; Rashed Al Harmoudi, Vice President, Communications, Mubadala; and Amira Rashad, Former Head of Yahoo Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
2. The Transformative Role of Social Media in the Middle East. Featuring: Richard Allan, Vice President Public Policy - Europe, Middle East and Africa, Facebook; Faisal Abbas, Editor-in-Chief, Al Arabiya News (English); Ayman Safadi, CEO, Path Arabia; and Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Journalist.
3. The Next Big Thing in Future Media. Featuring: Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Group; Raghav Bahl, Founder and Director, Network 18; and JB Perrette, President of Discovery Networks International.
4. From Hollywood to Bollywood, is Arabwood next? Featuring: Mukund Cairae, CEO, Middle East, North Africa, Turkey & Pakistan, Zee Network; Ali Mostafa, Film Director; Joe Pichirallo,Chair, Undergraduate Film & Television, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Kanbar Institute; Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios; and Mick Flannigan, Head, Abu Dhabi Film Commission.
Al Kaabi revealed the list of Summit partners, which includes a number of prestigious local and international organisation and they are: Strategic partner: Mubadala Knowledge partner: Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) Airlines partner: Etihad Airways Media partners: Abu Dhabi Media, Sky News Arabia, Al Arabiya, and CNN Support partners: Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Flat6Labs, Indivirtual, Porsche Centre, Rosewood Hotel Abu Dhabi, APCO Worldwide, Careem, Taghreedat and Eventpad.
Facts and Figures of ADMS 2014 - More than 600 leaders and professionals in the media industry from the region and the world gather at ADMS - More than 70 speakers from different nationalities - 14 panel discussions - 3 feature presentations - 3 key interviews - 2 workshops. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


U.A.E. supported Egypt during a critical time: Egyptian Prime Minister
posted on 15/11/2014

CAIRO: Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has expressed profound gratitude to the U.A.E., led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for standing by his country at this critical time in the history of the region.
'U.A.E.-Egypt ties are deeply rooted in history. Egypt was among the first countries to recognise the then-emerging U.A.E. Union in 1971. Historical events and honourable stances show how these fraternal bonds were rock solid,' the Egyptian Prime Minister said while addressing a panel discussion for the Emirati-Egyptian media, organised by the Dubai Press Club (DPC) in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, under the directive of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Moderated by Mona Bu Samra, Manager of the DPC, the media forum was attended by Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, U.A.E. Minister of State and Chairman of the Coordination Office of the U.A.E.-funded Development Projects in Egypt; Mona Ghanim Al Murri, Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office and Chairwoman of the DPC; Ibrahim Al Abed, Director-General of the U.A.E. National Media Council; and a large assembly of media leaders and editors-in-chief from both countries.
Addressing the current events rocking parts of the Arab world, the Egyptian Prime Minister called for collective action and the mobilisation of forces to abort the vicious schemes and ferocious onslaught against Arab values and the future of Arabs, warning that the plan in question was based on a well-plotted, destructive strategy.
He added that Egypt and the U.A.E. had set a strong model for countries that share a common destiny.
Mahlab also issued a stern message against the threat of terrorism, which had bared its teeth to the nations and peoples of the region, saying, "Egypt is in a war against terrorism which will have heavy human and financial costs. However, Egypt, armed with confidence, courage, and persistence, is resolved to moving forward towards development." At this critical juncture in the history of the Arab nation, Mahlab emphasised the urgent need for a united front to safeguard his country's future.
Taking the podium, Dr. Al Jaber noted that he had sensed, during his meeting yesterday with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sisi, a new spirit of national action driven by an ambitious vision for the future, based on hope, sincerity, and positive energy.
He hailed the U.A.E.-Egypt ties as being deeply rooted and based on transparency, clarity, concord, and a common destiny and goals.
Addressing the media community, Dr. Al Jaber said they needed to be objective, accurate, and conscious of the repercussions of current events and their impact on the future of the Arab world.
He also urged the media to highlight and introduce a tolerant image of Islam to the world through the promotion of moderate Islam; advocacy of its tolerant, moderate values and teachings; and denunciation of extremism and violence.
Speaking about the selection process of U.A.E. projects in Egypt, he stated that the U.A.E. leadership's directives were quite clear from the outset that these projects were designed and implemented to improve the lives of the common Egyptian people.
Asked about investment opportunities available to Emirati investors, Dr. Al Jaber said there were numerous promising investment options for U.A.E. investors within the ambitious Egyptian economic development plan. He also called on Emirati investors to enter into joint investment partnerships with their Egyptian counterparts to positively contribute to improving economic growth in Egypt in the medium to long term.
Mona Al Murri; Mohammed Yusouf, Chairman of the U.A.E. Journalists Association; and Diaa Rashwan, Chairman of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate, also spoke at the event. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Queen Rania of Jordan to inaugurate Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014
posted on 12/11/2014

Queen Rania of Jordan is expected to inaugurate the Abu Dhabi Media Summit (ADMS) 2014 on Tuesday, 18 November, according to an official statement.
The queen will give the opening key note address at the Rosewood Hotel, Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi.
"We are honoured to welcome Her Majesty Queen Rania to officially open this year's Abu Dhabi Media Summit," Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of the Media Zone Authority said.
"Queen Rania is known for her passion for education and advocacy of The Arab World, particularly youth, and these issues sit at the heart of the Summit's theme of ‘driving and sustaining a future media in MENA and beyond," she added.
The event, which is taking place between 18-20 November, focuses on the future of the media in the Middle East. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohammed bin Rashid: Training and qualifying Emirati media cadre is a national responsibility
posted on 26/09/2014

U.A.E. Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has directed senior executives at Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) to continue their efforts in developing media contents to match the country's developmental ambitions and support the comprehensive progress taking place nationwide.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed affirmed that the U.A.E.'s media "Must adopt state-of-the-art technologies and welcome national media cadre, most particularly young talents, and provide them with adequate opportunities to take part in establishing a found Emirati media industry and present an enlightened media message that addresses the entire world." Sheikh Mohammed's comments came during a meeting held at the headquarter of Dubai Media Incorporated. The meeting was attended by the Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Directors of DMI, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum asserted that the U.A.E. media is expected to keep up with rapid international changes. He assured that the media community holds huge responsibility as a major partner in the development and modernisation process by attracting attention to the successes and achievements, and, on the other side, monitoring faults.
Sheikh Mohammed said, "We expect our media to stand up to its responsibilities, to be aware and enlightened and to reflect people's expectations and ambitions." During his visit, Sheikh Mohammed reviewed DMI's development and modernisation plans, and he attended an orientation on the establishment's future projects. Sheikh Mohammed directed DMI's executives to commence the infrastructure and national cadres' development projects. His Highness assured that qualifying Emirati media cadre is a national responsibility.
His Highness called DMI to build new production studios in Dubai Studio City which will help Dubai to take the lead as media production hub. Sheikh Mohammed also assured that the existing buildings of DMI in Dubai must be preserved to stand witness to the development of media in the United Arab Emirates.
Sheikh Mohammed said, "Years ago, when we decided to build our knowledge-based economy, media was one of the major sectors that we considered. Today, we see the fruits of our efforts manifested in the growing media community which makes our country a regional and international media hub." The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Dubai Media Incorporated, Sami Al Qamzi, Director-General of TV and Radio in DMI, Ahmed Saeed Al Mansouri, and a number of DMI's executives and senior officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


twofour54 invests in Arabic online games developer Falafel Games
posted on 13/08/2014

twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi, has announced that it is investing in Falafel Games, a designer and producer of Arabic Massive Multiplier Online (MMO) games targeting the MENA audience.
The current investment was concluded alongside MBC Ventures and Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) bringing the total cash invested in the company to around US$2 million. This is the latest move by twofour54 to invest in early stage growth companies in the media and entertainment sector bringing its venture portfolio to 13 companies.
Commenting on the investment twofour54's Chief Executive Officer, Noura Al Kaabi said, "Our investment in Falafel Games provides further evidence of our commitment to create a thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem at twofour54. We want to support local talent and help start-ups fulfil their creative potential, which is vital to building and sustaining our media and entertainment industries." Founded in 2010, Falafel Games is a leading developer for regional MMO titles that are culturally relevant and speak to Arab audiences. The company's founders; Vince Ghossoub and Radwan Kasmiya, have extensive experience in game development both regionally and internationally. The company aspires to be the leading developer of Browser and Mobile MMO Games in both the Middle East and the Muslim World through highly relevant content.
It is the producer of "Knights of Glory" -the first Arabic MMOSG (Massive Multiplayer Online Strategy Game) with Arabic themes, winner of the Readers' Choice Awards for 2011, 2012 and 2013, and currently the best-selling browser MMO in the MENA- and boasts an impressive pipeline of future titles.
Twofour54 gaming sector is estimated to be worth more than US$1 billion in the Middle East and US$70 billion globally. Reports suggest that the Middle East is responsible for more than US$100 million in annual revenues from the online gaming industry.
Twofour54 is committed towards creating a thriving Arab entrepreneurial ecosystem across all media, entertainment and digital platforms. As an active investors in the industry, twofour54's current investment portfolio includes Tahadi Games, Falafel Games, Jawaker, SAE Institute, D1G, PopArabia, T-Break Media, Akhtaboot, Nibras, Istikana, as well as investments in specific content projects.
In addition to the above, twofour54's has also recently announced a partnership with accelerator, Flat6Labs, provides seed funding, strategic mentorship, workspace and direct support for start-ups through an expansive network of partners and entrepreneurial activities. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Twofour54 chief executive receives honorary degree from Washington DC school
posted on 11/08/2014

Noura Al Kaabi, the chief executive of Twofour54, has been given an honorary degree by an US institution.
The head of the commercial arm of the Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority received the award from the Protocol School of Washington during the institution's Global Education Summit in the US capital.
Afterwards, Ms Al Kaabi spoke on women in leadership roles to an audience of more than 250 people, sharing her experiences of being a female chief executive in the Middle East.
She advised listeners to own their own destiny and believe in themselves and to identify personal strengths. They should define success on their own terms based on individual values, passions and vision.
"I am honoured to be recognised by the Protocol School of Washington,” Ms Al Kaabi said.
"The school is a trusted counsel to governments and industries worldwide, and has been instrumental in equipping professionals such as myself with the unique skill sets required to succeed in today's multicultural business environment.”
The accolade was not the first for Ms Al Kaabi, a member of the Federal National Council.
Foreign Policy magazine previously named her one of the leading global thinkers of last year, the first Emirati to be featured on the 100-member list, for her contributions to supporting young talent and promoting online Arabic content.
Forbes Middle East named her one of the 30 most influential women in government last year, while two years ago Arabian Business magazine named Ms Al Kaabi media chief executive of the year.
Ms Al Kaabi is also a board member of Abu Dhabi Media, the parent company of The National.
She also sits on the boards of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, Image Nation and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
The chief executive holds a bachelor's degree in management information systems from U.A.E. University, in addition to completing a leadership programme at the London Business School.
The Protocol School in Washington conducts private training for corporations and government bodies, with experts from The Hague, militaries, international academia and corporations. – The National – Read more:


Abu Dhabi Media Summit in November
posted on 08/07/2014

The fifth Abu Dhabi Media Summit to be held from November 18 to 20 will discuss driving and sustaining future media in Mena (Middle East and North Africa) and beyond.
The summit to be held in the Rosewood Hotel on Abu Dhabi's Maryah Island will shed light on new developments that have taken place in the media recently, in addition to the future of media and technology in the Middle East, North Africa and other regions. The summit will also focus on local community involvement through workshops.
The summit, which is sponsored by Twofour54 and builds on Abu Dhabi's reputation and status as the centre of innovation in the Arab world, will host a number of media industry leaders, leaders in the media sector and their counterparts in the global emerging markets, together with a number of personalities from the Arab region and neighbouring countries.
Noora Al Ka'abi, CEO of Twofour54, said that the theme of the summit this year marks a change in trends where three main subjects will be addressed such as digital content and the distribution of the content and the necessary funding for its development. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


twofour54 partner Ubisoft releases its first mobile game developed in Abu Dhabi
posted on 19/06/2014

twofour54, the commercial arm of Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority, has announced that one of its key partners, Ubisoft, has released "CSI: Hidden Crimes", the first mobile game developed in Abu Dhabi and aimed to appeal to a global audience.
CSI: Hidden Crimes is a case-solving hidden object game set in the world of CBS Television s hit TV show, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and can be played for free on smartphones and tablets. Players can take on the role of detectives fighting crime in Las Vegas. The game has ten episodes available and is a top ranking game in several countries.
"The development of this game in Abu Dhabi by Ubisoft has leveraged locally based talent which is another example of a high-profile success within twofour54," said Noura Al Ka'abi, the Chief Executive Officer of twofour54. "This achievement will cement our status as an emerging gaming hub, demonstrating our success in developing young creative minds for a career in animation and game development." Three members of the team that developed the game are twofour54 Gaming Academy graduates, who have since joined Ubisoft Abu Dhabi as full-time team members after successfully completing internships with the company. The Ubisoft team is more than 35 people strong, with plans to grow to more than 100 in the next three to five years.
"Since coming to Abu Dhabi, we have enjoyed the benefits of twofour54 s collaborative community as well as fantastic support from the media zone. Our partnership with twofour54 has given us the possibility to create this original game, which features one of the world's most popular television programmes and will appeal to gamers all over the world," said Yannick Theler, Managing Director at Ubisoft Abu Dhabi.
"CSI: Hidden Crimes has reached the number one position in the (iPad) App Store s Most Downloaded Game section in more than 35 countries since its launch, in addition to great results in the (Android) Play Store, and recently launched in the Amazon Appstore. It is a wonderful adventure for our young studio, fuelled by a passionate team," continued Theler.
More information about Ubisoft's "CSI: Hidden Crimes", including upcoming episode delivery information, can be found on their Facebook page. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed plans closer strategic cooperation with Alastair Campbell and Sky News International
posted on 19/06/2014

LONDON: Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre and Sharjah Media Corporation, held meetings on strategic long-term cooperation with Alastair Campbell and Sky News International on Tuesday in London, UK.
Present at the meeting with Alastair Campbell were Osama Samra, Director of Sharjah Media Centre, and Mohammed Khalaf, Director of Sharjah TV and Radio.
Sheikh Sultan looked into opportunities to enhance the significant role of government communication in Sharjah primarily through its government agenda and Sharjah Executive Council.
He elaborated on recommendations that came during the third edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) and on their implementation in a discussion with Alastair Campbell while with Sky News International a promising exchange on a closer partnership for the International Government Communication Forum for 2015 and on a long-term prospect was induced.
Sheikh Sultan said: "We have seen great changes since the establishment of Sharjah Media Centre and the government communication programme, including initiatives such as the International Government Communication Forum and the Sharjah Government Communication Award.
The next phase is to implement the system we are working on in the form of practical steps that seek to develop the local government communication system and government agenda further." He added: "Sharjah is leading with its efforts in government communication and involvement of its 50 authorities and with our strategic partnerships we are aiming to set an example for the region." Samra, Director of Sharjah Media Centre, highlighted the vision of the two-day forum, which looks into best practices in government communication worldwide and their implementation in the emirate Sharjah. "Our vision for the IGCF is to be the platform for best practices in government communication worldwide. In the previous edition in February 2014, we highlighted the role that government communication can play in improving a country s image, and influencing its economic, social, and political future." Osama Samra added: "We are keen on providing government communication officers, communication professionals and students with the latest best practices and focus increasingly on academic content. We are confident that Sky News International will be contributing with their highly experienced and qualified higher management to the IGCF 2015." Mohammed Khalaf, Director of Sharjah TV and Radio, assessed the studios and operations of Sky News International closely and discussed options for exchange of resources and content: "At Sharjah Media Corporation, we are working with the latest equipment and latest technological developments. Next to this, we are interested to equip our employees with the latest skills and knowledge that contribute to a better quality of broadcast for our viewership and continuous development of local talent." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


twofour54 launches platform to promote creative community
posted on 06/06/2014

twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority - Abu Dhabi, yesterday launched the first online platform of its kind in the Arab world to enable the region s creative community to collaborate and find new creative opportunities.
"This bi-lingual platform is an instant network for the creative industries and this tool is the bridge that will connect our broad talent pool with the region s creative community" said Noura Al Kaabi, the Chief Executive Officer of twofour54.
"By uploading their portfolios and showcasing their talents, creatives can connect to producers, agencies, broadcasters or other like-minded people this is the latest step in Abu Dhabi s journey to becoming a leading media and entertainment hub." The platform allows users to upload entire portfolios and connect their profiles to social media through channels such as twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Its interconnectivity helps businesses to search for talent for specific projects. Continuous blog posts and a social wall with regular feeds keep members up to date with industry news and opinions. Members can also use the new online platform to promote their own events, workshops and initiatives.
Al Kaabi said, "twofour54 has developed and supported young talent since it was founded, and we are now seeing results through the local production of more high-quality films, games, publications, and television programmes, driven by the creation of a thriving community for all types of media production. Locally based talent is a great advantage that has helped twofour54 successfully attract global television and film producers to the emirate, this platform will further enhance this offering." creative lab is twofour54 s community for creative people with over 80 projects funded to date. It operates #thelab which currently has over 300 visits a month from young budding creatives. This physical space located on twofour54 s campus is where members can hangout, meet colleagues and enjoy being creative with facilities such as sound and edit labs which are free to community members .The existing community of nearly 10,000 members can find guidance and funding for projects at the facility.
The platform connects existing and potential members of twofour54 s thriving creative community, with trade partners such as agencies, broadcasters, government and private entities, and production companies. It is also a platform to promote courses at twofour54 tadreeb, the region s leading training academy for the media and entertainment industries.
Members of twofour54 s creative community and platform users can also access exclusive experiences such interning with the major international film and televisions that are being attracted to the emirate. For example, six interns had the opportunity to work on the Abu Dhabi production location of the latest instalment of the Star Wars franchise, and two of those interns will go on to London's Pinewood Studios to further their production experience.
twofour54 is building a media and entertainment hub in the Middle East by promoting talent development and content creation by Arabs across all media platforms, including film, broadcast, music, digital media, events, gaming, and publishing. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Mohammed bin Rashid honours winners of 13th Arab Journalism Award
posted on 22/05/2014

UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has honoured the winners of the 13th Arab Journalism Award (AJA) during a special gala ceremony held at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai yesterday.
The ceremony was held alongside the conclusion of the 13th Arab Media Forum in the presence of a host of prominent Arab media leaders, key writers and industry specialists. The ceremony took place with the attendance of Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Deputy Ruler, H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Mohammed Abdulla Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Mona Ghanim Al Marri, Secretary-General of the Arab Journalism Awards and a huge gathering of high-calibre professionals in the fields of media, thought and culture in the region.
Awards were delivered to fifteen Arab press winners, honours for which were chosen from among more than 4,500 works covering various arts and areas of journalism, received from various daily and weekly newspapers and periodicals, in both print and online, from various Arab and foreign countries.
The ceremony began with a short film which reflected the most important events that have affected the Arab media landscape over the past year.
A special honour was also granted to the late Dr. Abdullah Omran Taryam.
The event also included a presentation creatively presented by the artist Mohammed Al-Dairi in the form of an image of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, patron of the Arab Journalism Award and the Arab Media Forum, in recognition by the Award Secretariat of His Highness' support and patronage for the award since its launch in 1999.
Sheikh Mohammed honoured Ibrahim Al Abed, Director-General of the National Media Council, with the "Media Personality of the Year Award" in recognition of his contributions to the local and Arab media, including the foundation of the UAE News Agency, "WAM"
Sheikh Mohammed also presented the "Best Newspaper Column" award to Mohammed Tawfiq, who received the trophy on behalf of the winner, Egyptian writer Ahmad Rajab. The Award came in recognition of Rajab's efforts in the march of the Arab media through his work as a writer. He is the most prominent symbols of satirical writing in the Arab world, writing the column, "Nos Kalima" in the Egyptian daily, "Akhbar Al Youm". Rajab began his writing career in 1968, and in his column he highlights the challenges facing society and sheds light on the aspirations of its members.
Dhaen Shaheen, a member of the board of the Arab Journalism Award, presented the AJA Shield for Investigative Journalism to journalist Iman Al Warraqi of the Egyptian "Seventh Day".
Sakina Fuad, AJA Board Member, presented the AJA Shield for Humanitarian Journalism Award to journalist Ahmed Mediani of "Morocco Today" magazine.
Dr. Abdul Elah Belqzaiz, Member of the AJA Board, presented the Political Journalism Award to Amro Bayoumi of "Emirates Today", UAE.
Raed Barqawi, AJA Board Member, presented the Shield of Press Interviews Journalism Award to journalist Yasser Rizq of "Al Masri Al Youm".
Khaled Al Ma'ina, AJA Board Member, presented the AJA Shield of Economic Journalism Award to Mostafa Abdul Adhim of "Al Ittihad" newspaper, UAE.
Mohammed Al Hammadi, AJA Board Member presented the Shield of Specialized Journalism Award to Dr. Adel Allaqani, Editor-in -Chief of "Lughatu Al Asr" magazine.
Dr. Abdul Nasser Al Najjar, AJA Board Member, presented the Shield of Sports Journalism Award to Masaad Abdul Wahhab of "Al Khaleej", UAE..
AJA Board Member, Aisha Sultan, presented the shield of Best Cultural Journalism Award to Sharif Saleh of the Kuwaiti newspaper "Al Nahar".
AJA Board Member Abdul Hamid Ahmed presented the Shield of Best Picture Award to photographer Ammar Jameel Awadh, of Reuters.
Ayman Al Sayyad, AJA Board Member, presented the Shield of Outstanding Cartoon Works Award to Amer Al Zoubi. Ali Shahdour, Editing Director General at Al Bayan Newspaper, received the award on his behalf.
The Vice Chairman of the AJA, Dhiaa Rashwan, presented Shields of Honour to the three winners of Young Journalist Awards, being Aziz Al Hoor of Morocco's "Al Akhbar", Mohammed Ahdad of Morocco's "Al Masa" newspaper, and Sami Modni of Morocco's "Al Masa". – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Arab media forum sets stellar example
posted on 22/05/2014

A UAE paper has said that whatever Dubai does, it does it in style and with a clear vision that the future generation should be benefited.
Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has launched the Future Editing Smart Hall in the media centre of the Arab Media Forum, AMF.
What is interesting is that the hall is the first of its kind in the entire Arab world. Media personnel and journalists will be able to use sophisticated devices and advanced electronic screens.
"The Arab Media Forum is intended to highlight the UAE's openness and avant-garde role, promote its leadership in communication and dialogue and attract a wide spectrum of the media industry representatives," said The Gulf Today in its editorial on Wednesday.
In addition to the UAE citizens' active participation in discussions and sessions, the UAE team has the lion's share in the process of preparation, organisation and hosting of AMF.
Sheikh Mohammed attended the opening session of the 13th Arab Media Forum, while Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab delivered the keynote address, mentioning that the "World today finds itself before an excitingly unpredictable future which holds tantalising promises beyond what we can hope to foresee." The feeling of joy that comes when one enters the UAE is unique. The Egyptian premier too indicated as much when he declared, "Dubai, through the tireless work of its sons and daughters and the visionary policies of its leaders, has evolved into a true crossroads of culture and civilisation, a tourist haven, and a centre of commerce and trade in today's world." Both Sheikh Mohammed and Mr. Mahlab have stressed the important role of the media, its national and humanitarian message, especially in terms of "highlighting the issues of our nation and issues of the Arab nation." "The AMF is proving to be popular primarily because it has sought to open wide horizons for dialogue, in-depth discussions and exchange of ideas on media-related issues of importance to the region and the world at large." concluded the Sharjah-based English language newspaper. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Al Bayan unveils its new encyclopaedia
posted on 22/05/2014

Al Bayan newspaper unveiled its new book ‘Live from the Emirates: UAE media History Uncovered' on Wednesday at the Arab Media Forum.
Dhaen Shaheen, CEO of publishing sector at Dubai Media Incorporated, said: "The book "Live from the Emirates: UAE Media History Uncovered", published by Al Bayan, takes the reader on a pleasant journey through a rich collection of research information. Going through its pages, the reader will find high-quality images, infographics and illustrations, statistical data, graphical models, and documents which lead him towards his target smoothly and easily.”
He added: "The release of this book fills an urgent need for those who are involved in the media sector. This is due to the modesty of our local library's holdings of books that follow up the history of media in the UAE, and its rapid developments at all levels".
Muna Bu Samra, Arab Media Forum and DPC Manager, said: "DPC's cooperation with Al Bayan in launching this important book is in line with the Club's strategy of supporting efforts that aim at introducing people to the history of our local media, and spreading the benefit of sharing the valuable information, especially so since it comes from a reliable source.”
She added: "We hope that this book represents an important reference to all those who are interested in the details of our local media, and the readers at large. We do appreciate all the efforts exerted by Al-Bayan in order to release this book".
The book takes the reader on a visual journey through some of the most fascinating aspects of local and regional media history. It tells the story of how the Emirates embraced modern media; a story best told not just by explaining some of the fundamentals of the sector, but also by delving into the UAE's nascent media archives and by introducing some of the industry's pioneers, letting them talk about their own experiences in this field.
The book is divided into three main chapters: Chapter one – Gulf Media on the Rise, chapter two – UAE Media History, and chapter three – – Media Pioneers.
The book includes interviews with Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, former editor of Al Bayan and Khaleej Times; Hessa Alossaily, the first Emirati woman in radio and television; Bilal Al Budoor, pioneering author and cultural figure; Mona Al Marri, first female head of Dubai Government Media Office; Abla Al Nowais, one of the UAE's first female journalists; Zaki Nusseibeh, one of the first foreign correspondents in the UAE; Ahmed Salem, one of the first Emirati presenters. The 192-page book includes 240 photos and 13 infographics. – Emirates 24│7 – Read more:


Mohammed bin Rashid launches Future Editing Smart Hall
posted on 21/05/2014

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday launched the Future Editing Smart Hall in the media centre of the Arab Media Forum.
In the presence of H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, the hall was revealed for the first time in the Arab world and was launched on the occasion of the Arab Media Forum in Dubai.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was briefed by the Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office, Mona Ghanem Al Marri, on ways to use the devices and advanced electronic screens by media personnel and journalists.
Al Marri said that the hall is the first of its kind in the Arab world.
The launch ceremony was attended by Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, and a number of senior officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

Arab Media Forum opens with 2,000 delegates
posted on 21/05/2014

His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the two-day Arab Media Forum on Tuesday, held under the theme ‘The future of media starts today'.
The 13th annual gathering of roughly 2,000 media personalities from the Arab world and the international arena, witnessed a keynote address by Egyptian Prime Minister Ebrahim Mahlab who was received earlier by Sheikh Mohammad.
Sheikh Mohammad said in a statement, "Since the era of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, we owe Egypt and its people all honour, respect, and appreciation.”
He said that Egyptians were one of the first regional talents to come to the country, especially in the sectors of education and media.
Mahlab expressed his pleasure at visiting the UAE that has, "through the tireless labours of its sons and daughters and the visionary policies of its leaders, evolved to become a true crossroads of culture and civilisation, a tourist haven, and a centre of commerce and trade in the world today.”
Mahlab described the Arab Media Forum as "one of the most important gatherings in the world for journalists, politicians, and intellectuals to reflect on the intricacies of the present and contemplate what awaits on the horizon.”
In opening remarks during his keynote speech Al Mahlab said we were living in a new world with new media and even new people, where there is an overflow of information that can make decision-making challenging.
He also said the media had played a role in enlightening people and conveying messages of hope when Egypt had to sacrifice a lot to get its spirit back.
"The future is not built on economic power on its own… Egypt had to make many sacrifices to get back its spirit and today we are witnessing a counter-revolution from the alliance of terrorism and failure.”
He said the Egyptian people started the second evolution in June 30, 2013 to confirm its identity as moderately religious. He also said no one can break its spirit or impose backward and extremist values.
‘No going back'
"We will continue on this path. There is no going back now.”
In light of the current Egyptian elections, Al Mahlab said: "What we have are two presidential candidates. What is happening today is a result of the people's will and it should not be doubted or questioned. The candidates are from the people and will be chosen by the people.”
As for the security situation in Sinai, Al Mahlab said they were working on ridding Sinai of terrorism.
"I can assure you that soon, Sinai will be clear and clean from these pockets of terrorism. We are taking effective steps to do so. There are still some pockets here and there but they will soon be gone.”
Another step in Egypt's future is coming up with new economic reforms, Al Mahlab said. "We thank the GCC countries for their funding during the transition period but at the end of the day we are looking to reform our economy. We believe in win-win situations and we hope to attract investment to Egypt from the GCC.”
He said Egypt was looking into reforms that will focus on the sector's most stricken by poverty.
Al Mahlab also spoke about the Syrian crisis, emphasising that Arab countries should play a bigger role in helping Syrians on a humanitarian level.
"There is no doubt that we Arabs should play a bigger role in helping Syria. What is happening is a humanitarian issue and Arab countries should see how they can help. It is Egypt's duty to help them on a humanitarian level. Syrians in Egypt are treated as Egyptians in terms of education and health.”
Before Mahlab's keynote speech, Mona Al Merri, Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), welcomed UAE. Mohammad, Mahlab and guests and delegates. She thanked Sheikh Mohammad for his support and encouragement for the forum.
"Today, we are proud that the AMF has won the trust of the Arab media community to become a fixed, annual gathering where media persons interact to discuss truth and the reality of their profession, aspects of its progress and aspirations,” she said. – Gulf News – Read more:


Social media primary source of news across Arab world
posted on 21/05/2014

A new report released on Monday at the Arab Media Forum showed that social media is used by the majority of internet users across the Arab world and is their primary source of news.
The Arab Social Media Outlook 2014 suggested that 71 million people used social media in the region last year out of a total 135 million internet users.
The report was done in cooperation with the Dubai Press Club (DPC) and the Governance and Innovation Programme at the Mohammad Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG).
Dr. Ali Sebaa Al Marri, executive president of MBRSG, said: "In an age where media plays a central role in shaping our societies, the MBRSG's Governance and Innovation Programme seeks to gauge and analyse the role of social media platforms on knowledge and innovation through supporting active engagement between governments and people. This partnership reflects the importance of scientific research in formulating sound public policies on one hand and putting solid data to practical use on the other,” added Al Marri.
Mona Al Marri, president of the Dubai Press Club and chairperson of AMF's Organising Committee, said: "The report takes into perspective the wide spread of social media platforms and its relation to the media scene in the Arab world. It also sheds light on new communication trends and poses a challenge to media professionals to constantly update their news-gathering procedures, especially in a time where the public have the tools to disseminate news [information] quickly.”
The ‘Arab Social Media Outlook 2014' focuses on the demographics of social media platforms in the Arab world.
For example, Egypt topped the Arab countries with the largest Facebook user base in 2013 whereas the UAE recorded the highest penetration to population ratio of 54 per cent; an increase of one million users during 2013.
Fadi Salem, director of the Governance and Innovation Programme at the MBRSG and co-author of the report, said: "Convergence between social media platforms and conventional media has become an undisputed fact. The report shows that users of social media platforms across the Arab world reached 71 million individuals by the end of 2013 out of a total of 135 million individuals using the Internet.”
"Social media is actively competing with conventional media as a primary source of news for millions of Arabs. Nearly 30 per cent of individuals participating in the survey consider social media to be the primary source of news, which is similar to the percentage of individuals considering conventional media outlets as the main source of news,” added Salem. – Gulf News – Read more:


twofour54 and Flat6Labs bring entrepreneurial hub to Abu Dhabi
posted on 21/05/2014

twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority - Abu Dhabi, yesterday signed a deal with Flat6Labs and United Markets International Holding to bring a specialised start-up accelerator, Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, to create a new hub for local and international entrepreneurs.
Flat6Labs is a regional start-up accelerator that fosters and invests in bright and passionate entrepreneurs. The accelerator provides seed funding, strategic mentorship, a creative workspace, a multitude of perks, entrepreneurship-focused business training, and direct support for start-ups through an expansive network of partners and entrepreneurial activities.
Fulfilling its mission of creating more entrepreneurial hubs in vibrant ecosystems, Flat6Labs also has hubs in Cairo and Jeddah, and soon in Abu Dhabi with immediate efforts to expand to more areas in the Middle East and North Africa.
"twofour54 and Flat6Labs share the goal of developing talent in the UAE and across the entire Middle East," said Noura Al Kaabi, the Chief Executive Officer of twofour54. "Working together through this partnership will help us to achieve this goal. twofour54 has become the region's driving force behind media and entertainment entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi and we look forward to giving more young talent the opportunity to grow and thrive with the support of Flat6Labs." Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi is planning to help launch more than 80 companies over the next four years. Its main focus will be on digital content and e-commerce, social media and citizen journalism, media and video production, and mobile applications. The application process for the accelerator program will be initiated towards the end of the year.
"This partnership is an essential step in establishing a start-up accelerator that can serve and benefit different local partners in the UAE," said Hany Al-Sonbaty, Founder of Flat6Labs. "Our mission is to create more entrepreneurial hubs in vibrant media ecosystems like twofour54. Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi is designed to act as an entrepreneurial hub that will attract local Emirati and global talent who are starting companies. Through this agreement, we hope to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs in the UAE's business community." The newly established accelerator programme with Flat6Labs will use twofour54 local expertise combined with insights from Emirati business leaders, global technology experts, local and regional investment experts and United Arab Emirates Governmental leaders and figures as part of the programme to help entrepreneurs. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


13th Arab Media Forum kicks off on Tuesday
posted on 19/05/2014

The 13th edition of the Arab Media (AMF) Forum focusing on new trends and their impact on the future of today's media will begin on Tuesday at Mina A'Salam Resort, Madinat Jumeirah, in Dubai.
The two-day forum with the theme "The Future of Media Starts Today”, is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
With the rapid development taking place in the media industry around the world, AMF organisers have included important topics such as how Information and Communications Technology (ICT), new media, and extinction of traditional media such as newspapers affect and alter the media landscape today.
Renowned researcher and futurist Ross Dawson will open the first session with ‘The Future of Arab Media' where he will analyse a timeline of newspapers ceasing publication due to stiff competition with other media platforms.

The session ‘New Media: New Phenomena' will zoom in on how social media, particularly those used by celebrities, have attracted huge crowds, especially among the youth, and influenced content dissemination.
MBC anchor Ola Al Fares will moderate the session by new media personalities, namely, Abdul Aziz Al Jasmi from UAE, Adam Saleh from US, Faisal Al Basri of Kuwait, Hatoon Kadi from Saudi Arabia, and writer and blogger Amjad Al Munif, also from Saudi Arabia.
The panellists will answer questions on whether or not celebrity-hosted social media are just a fad or will be a mainstay in the industry and what values these platforms offer other than traditional media, among others.
‘Virtual Warfare' will deal with how media dependent on information and communications technology (ICT) are being paralysed in their news coverage when ICT is targeted in conflict zones. Since virtual warfare is as dangerous as conventional wars with the increasing dependence on communications networks, attacking and neutralising these networks affects the capability of the army to retaliate. So do the media in covering news.
Hosted by the Dubai Press Club, AMF will also feature the 13th Arab Journalism Award to recognise and encourage journalistic excellence in Arabic media.
Since its inception in 2001, the Arab Media Forum has grown from just having 400 participants from eight countries to 3,160 participants from 47 countries last year. It has covered topics ranging from conveying the Arab view of the West to the Arab media through a period of crises during the Arab Spring, and down to the Arab media in transition. – Gulf News – Read more:


NMC, TRA finalise setting up regulatory formula on issuing of media content licences
posted on 18/05/2014

Within the framework of the constructive partnership between the National Media Council (NMC) and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (RTA), the two bodies have completed work on the setting up of a regulatory formula to cover the issuing of media content licences. These will be issued by the NMC.
The media content licence covers radio and TV broadcasting services.
The new formula specifies conditions dealing with the general principles of new media content, along with the appropriate framework, measures that govern the licencing of radio and TV broadcasting, procedures for following up on these measures, in accordance with the legislation, regulations and instructions that are issued in this respect, in line with the state's general policy and the strategy of the federal government.
The conditions also stipulate the need for respect of religious, cultural and social local norms, as well as for the encouraging of freedom of expression, constructive interaction with the radio and TV and the provision of balanced and responsible media content that respects individual privacy and protects different societal categories from the potential negative effects of radio and TV broadcasts.
The measures also take into account the media and advertisement content and regulations that govern the work of licencing authorities and the need to co-ordinate the use of the frequency spectrum for radio and television services, to avoid any jamming, unwanted interference and any coverage that exceeds and contradicts the regional and international agreements that regulate the use of the frequency spectrum for radio and TV. This will ensure the effective management of national resources regarding the scopes of frequency spectrum.
The NMC and the TRA also noted the need to enhance Emiratisation in the sector (Tawteen) and to develop Emirati human resources in the areas of radio and TV, as well as the development of the media industry to contribute to the level of overall development in the UAE.
The reaching of agreement on the topic comes within the framework of coordination and partnership between the NMC and the TRA to upgrade the media and telecommunications sectors so that they keep pace with the latest economic, social and cultural developments in the UAE.
The NMC and the TRA earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on licencing of radio services, in implementation of Cabinet resolution No. 13 of year 2011 on licensing the radio and TV service activities and Cabinet resolution No. 12 of year 2013 on fees for media activities in the UAE.
The National Media Council is the competent authority in charge of issuing media licences and of following up on content published or broadcast by the media nationwide, while the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority is responsible for the issuing of frequency spectrums and telecommunications service licences. – Emirates News Agency, WAM



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