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DUBAI: The 21st edition of the Arab Media Forum wrapped up in Dubai on Wednesday, with leading media figures, ministers, heads of local Arab and international media organizations, as well as intellectuals and writers coming together to discuss the future of the industry.  

The two-day forum had two key themes: the impact of artificial intelligence on the media, and the influence of film and drama as sources of soft power.  

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammad Al-Maktoum highlighted the importance of culture in society, saying it is intertwined with creative economy, the basis for countries’ development.  

Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE president, spoke of the importance of finding common ground in the region in order to coexist peacefully.  

”This pillar is stability. This stability is not just for the UAE but for the entire region as this cannot be achieved in isolation. There is a need to calm the region and not focus on disagreements. Confrontation leads to a high price for all parties. So, the first pillar is stability, and this is an established fact. The second pillar is geo-economic more than a geo-strategic. Economic growth is important,” he said.

Most of the attendees and panelists shared the view that AI can be beneficial in terms of solving problems in a cost-effective and timely manner. However, some journalists warned of its dangers in terms of spreading fake, unverified news, as well as its possible impact on job losses in the media sector.  

Bahraini Minister of Information, Ramzan Abdulla Al-Nuaimi, and H.E. Karam Gabr, head of Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation, discussed the differences between Arab media operations and their counterparts in West.

“Each country has a different set of laws, morals and culture; we Arabs have been stereotyped on how we handle our journalists and our media, but what the West fails to understand is that we live according to our values and not theirs,” Al-Nuaimi said.  

Both agreed there should be economic opportunities for the youth to express their creativity, and channel their opinions and frustrations in positive ways.  

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