Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday called upon UAE journalists to be honest and assured that the government’s doors are always open to the media.
“Local media must always be as professional as they have always been. The media must also be honest because they are the foundation for media work that the UAE needs in its society. You have our full support; our doors are always open in order to interact with you and all segments of society. I closely follow the media to learn about issues that affect people’s lives,” said Shaikh Mohammad at the third edition of the Emirati Media Forum (EMF) here yesterday.
Shaikh Mohammad stressed the important role played by the media in shaping the present and future of the region. He also pointed out the media’s responsibility in dealing with challenges this region is facing. He emphasised the UAE’s stand by the legitimate government in Yemen, and said that the nation will continue to support people who have been wronged and provide aid to the needy all across the world.
“There is nothing more important than disclosing the truth to thwart lies. The UAE, its leadership and courageous soldiers will continue to support the legitimate government and defending those who have been wronged,” said Shaikh Mohammad.
Shaikh Mohammad was speaking while honouring 22 media organisations, including Gulf News, for coverage of developments in Yemen. The forum saw the participation of an elite group of editors-in-chief, media leaders and prominent intellectuals, journalists, writers and academics.
Earlier, addressing the forum, Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, said: “The UAE has been living in Spring since 1971 and will continue living in Spring in the future ... this means living in a flourishing and secure country ... so don’t convince us that destruction and terrorism is the spring.”
This year, the third edition of the forum discussed the performance of the local media in coping with regional developments with a focus on Yemen. The event, which was held under the patronage of Shaikh Mohammad, took place at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
To go with the theme of the current regional developments in Yemen, the forum displayed a war camp with tents, military gear and army barriers, which Shaikh Saif said inspired him to digress from his speech to talk about the real meaning of the Arab spring.
Shaikh Saif commended the local media for the Yemen coverage, adding that the UAE is currently facing an important phase in the media sector.
“We are proud of our media institutes who were able to report the heroism of our martyrs. They were able to report the reality of what is happening in Yemen to the Arab and international world with transparency and clarity.”
He said seven billion people have the ability to interact via internet and so it is important for social media platforms to be used responsibly and that the information they access is factual, adding that the hashtag, #UAE_brave_martyrs (in Arabic), reached 400 million people.
Commenting on Shaikh Mohammad’s contribution to the changing face of media in the country, Shaikh Saif said: “Shaikh Mohammad changed the media from talking to people to talking with people,” he said.
He also spoke about those who believe in and contribute to a violent Arab Spring, labelling them the enemies of humanity and God, adding that the UAE is living the real meaning of Spring, which means living in peace and a flourishing country.
Following Shaikh Saif’s speech, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, awarded the winners of a documentary competition titled The Nation’s Martyrs.
Shaikh Mohammad then honoured media organisations which contributed to the coverage of the developments in Yemen.
Gulf News was one of the newspapers honoured by Shaikh Mohammad.
During her opening speech, Mona Ganem Al Merri, director-general of the Dubai Government’s Media Office and Chairperson of the Dubai Press Club, said it is important to identify media objectives to encourage a positive spirit. Mona mentioned some of these goals which included unified media coordination, self-evaluation and accurate social media reporting.
She said that this year the forum focuses on the role of media in boosting the national spirit.
—With inputs from WAM