Dubai: The 17th edition of the Arab Media Forum (AMF) kicked off on Tuesday at Madinat Jumeirah under the theme “Impactful Media Trends”.
Bringing together more than 2,500 prominent regional and international media figures and thoughts leaders, the two-day event will also feature 50 speakers representing 20 countries from across the Arab region and the world.
During one of the first sessions at the forum, Patrick Walker, Director of Media Partnerships EMEA, Facebook discussed the changing media landscape through Facebook in a 20-minute talk.
Walker spoke about how technology has drastically changed in the last decade and how the way people connect and how stories are being told has also transformed.
However, he said, this has created many challenges when anyone can share anything from any part of the world.
“Facebook news feed which is only ten years old, began as only text, then photos and videos as well and now you can upload from anywhere in the world, shoot 360 virtual reality images straight from your phone to an audience of about two billion people,” he said.
He added that while this is remarkable but it also creates a number of challenges when someone anywhere in the world can upload anything instantaneously in high quality.
“This is something that is a very big responsibility for us and one that we take seriously,” he continued.
Walker said Facebook has also learned many cases in hard the way “that connecting people with great connectivity and products isn’t necessarily doing good.”
“We learned the hard way that we can do better with news integrity, to fight misinformation. We can do better with people that were manipulating our ads and even more recently we could have done better with peoples data, no one has done this before two billion people connected. It’s new for everyone but it’s not an excuse for us. We need to improve our policies and what we do as technology becomes more powerful,” he added.
Changes in Arab media
Speakers at the forum’s 17th edition, will also discuss the impact of regional political developments in media, and look at key changes in the form and content of Arab media brought by technological developments.
Other topics include the impact of artificial intelligence on the press and ways of engaging audiences in a digital world.
The keynote speaker at this year’s AMF will be the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, who will present his insights on the major issues affecting the region, their impact on the media and the role played by media themselves in the changes sweeping across the region.
Impact of events in Arab region
Mona Ghanem Al Marri, President of Dubai Press Club and Chairperson of the AMF Organising Committee, will also take a close look at the impact of recent developments in the Arab region on the media and explore ways of instilling strong professional and ethical values in the industry.
“The rapid and complex transformations taking place in the region have brought many challenges, which the media is not immune to. The annual forum is the ideal platform to analyse the current situation of the media industry and address its current weaknesses, given its historic role as a partner in the development of societies,” said Al Marri.
Meanwhile, the forum will also bring together more than 2,500 prominent regional and international media figures and thoughts leaders, who will share their views on diverse issues with the aim of forging a new vision for the media that supports the aspirations of the region’s people.
Speakers taking the stage include Patrick Walker, Director of Media Partnerships EMEA, Facebook; Carlo Biondo President EMEA Strategic Partnerships, Google, and Mariam Aurangzeb, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage, among others.
Panel discussions at this year’s forum will cover topics such as ‘Jerusalem At the Heart of Media’, ‘Emirati Media Trends’, and ‘Changing Media Landscape’.
The forum will also feature a series of “20 Minute Sessions”, in which prominent media personalities will discuss vital media industry issues. Topics covered in this series include “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of the Press’ and ‘Facebook: Changing the Media Landscape”, among others.
At the concluding ceremony on Wednesday, winners of the 17th Arab Journalism Award will be honoured.