Arab Media Organizations Need to Expand Presence in Emerging Economies to Leverage Synergies, Say Experts at AMF 2010
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Arab media organizations must expand their wings and presence in Asia to complement the proliferation of the media sector in emerging economies such as India and China with which the Middle East has enjoyed historic links, according to Chua Huck Cheng, Editorial-Page Editor, The Straits Times, Singapore.
Chua’s comments at a seminar on ‘Asia Rising: The Story of China and India’ held as part of Arab Media Forum 2010. The seminar analysed new trends and the ramifications of the developments as well as emerging media industries in China.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, AMF 2010 opened on 12 May at The Atlantis-Palm. Themed ‘Shifting Mediascape: Inspiring Content…Expanding Reach’, the event has brought together more than 2,000 media personalities and experts from Arab countries and across the world.
Moderated by Dr Tayeb Kamali, Vice-Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology (UAE), speakers at the session included N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu (India); Jonathan Fenby, China Director of the research company Trusted Sources (China); Chua Huck Cheng, Editorial-Page Editor, The Straits Times (Singapore), Dilip Cherian, Consulting Partner, Perfect Relations, Andrew Malcolm, Member of the Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times, and Abdulla Al Madani, academic researcher and lecturer in International Relations and Asian Studies (Bahrain).
N. Ram pointed out: “Media is divided into two worlds; one, where it is witnessing rapid growth and the other that is in steep decline. We are seeing the growth in emerging economies while the scenario in the Western world has been described with words such as ‘meltdown, collapse and disintegration’. As for the question whether this growth can be sustained in India and China, I would give it a five year time frame.”
Rapid commercialization in India and China is the leading driver behind the meteoric ascent of media in both countries. India is a democracy that is in continuous dialogue with itself; we have a culture of asking questions, said Dilip Cherian.
Panellists at the seminar agreed that other factors fuelling aggressive growth of the Asian media are an ever-expanding middle-class armed with multiplying amounts of disposable income, and an insatiable interest for information.
Jonathan Fenby said: “While the media in China has always been under government control, there is a marked shift since 1978. There are a number of metro-based publications that are fast approaching the norms of free media with the ability to openly report prevailing issues.”
Andrew Malcolm pointed out that the twin phenomenon of media mergers and migration of readers to the Web has resulted in a significant decline of media empires. Closures seem to be haunting newspapers as advertisers switch in favour of the high-traffic Web sites.
In addition to examining the regional media in Asian countries, panellists also looked at the reasons for the rapid growth of regional-language media, and whether some Asian societies are more receptive to media scrutiny than the others.
AMF 2010 has served as a crucial platform for insightful discussions on issues such as citizen journalism, sports media, the media in Asia, Arabic channels’ diffidence to expand into other languages, and the etiquette of debate on live TV.
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, the winners of the third edition of the Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Youth Media Awards received their prizes at a gala ceremony on the first day of the forum.
The Arab Media Forum 2010 will conclude on 13 May with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid honouring the winners of Arab Journalism Awards, the region’s most coveted distinction for journalistic excellence.
Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI), Arab Media Group (AMG), Nakheel, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Emirates airline are the key sponsors for the forum.
Latest updates on the workshops and speakers at the Arab Media Forum 2010 are available at www.arabmediaforum.ae.
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