14th Gulf Radio, TV festival opens in Manama

MANAMA, March 14 (KUNA) — Bahraini Minister of Information Ali Al-Rumaihi highlighted the role of media in igniting creativity and promoting the spirt of amity among people with different cultures.
The current challenges in the Middle East region and the accelerated development of information and communication technologies (ICT) require innovative media tools, discourse and content, he said in an inaugural speech to the 14th Gulf Radio and Television Festival on Monday evening.
The festival gathered GCC Secretary-General Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani and the Bahraini King’s Advisor for Media Affairs Nabil Al-Hamar, as well as ministers and senior officials from the GCC member states.
The festival, chaired by the minister, is co-organized by the Gulf Radio and Television Corporation (GRTC) and the Ministry of Information.
“Despite the great impact of the global media industry on the world public opinion, the numerous Arab media outlets arouse questions regarding their professionalism, and ability to keep abreast with the ICT changes and immunize the Arab communities against ideological invasion,” he said.
“The Arab countries have a total of 1,294 satellite TV channels, 89 percent of which are privately-owned, 25 percent are generalist, and 13 percent are thematic including the sports channels,” Al-Rumaihi said, citing the latest report of the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU).
“The conventional media in the Arab countries face new challenges in terms of credibility and speed as a result of the viewers’ increasing dependence on the Internet as a source of news and information,” he said, noting that the rate of this reliance in the United States hit 82 percent.
Meanwhile, the Bahraini minister warned against misuse of the Internet, including the cyberterrorism, cybercrime and the dissemination of misinformation about political or economic facts.
The number of Internet users hit 3.2 billion, representing 43.4 percent of the world population, he said noting that a single tweet could trigger millions or retweets that might push down the stock market indices or cause changes in a government institution.
The festival, themed “single media vision,” reflects the Arab countries’ keenness on unifying the media discourse and activate cooperation in this vital sector, he added.
On his part, GRTC Director General and Secretary General of the GRTC Dr. Abdullah Abu Ras said the biennial festival become one of the most important regional forums in the media sector.
He lauded the cooperation between the Information Ministry and the GRTC in setting the stage for the festival and providing a chance for media decision makers to brainstorm in cordial and open atmospheres.
The festival features a competition for short films as part of efforts to encourage budding talents and develop cinema, as well as other contests for GCC radio and electronic media.
During the opening ceremony the GCC chief Al-Zayani, Al-Rumaihi and Abu Ras honored the media celebrities who contributed to the progress of this industry in the Gulf region.
The honorees include Aisha Saleh Al-Yahya, Saad Al-Faraj and Abdulaziz Al-Anbari – of Kuwait; Estiqlal Ahmad, Ahmad Ashour Hassan and Mohammad Ibrahim Lory – Bahrain; Ali Said Al-Sharif, Said Khamees Al-Sharqi and Mohammad Al-Joker – the UAE; Fatema bint Mekhlaf Al-Enezi, Dr. Ali bin Mohammad Al-Najai and Mohammad Ali Al-Bakr – Saudi Arabia; Mohammad Abdullah Al-Marzooqi, Mubarak Nasser Al-Awami and Isa bin Abdulla Al-Hatmi – Qatar, and Eid bin Hareb Al-Mashifri, Ahmad bin Amer Al-Hadhari and Said Taman Al-Omari – Oman. (end) mga.gb