Media 'must adapt to rapid changes'
Manama, December 24, 2013
Traditional news outlets have to adapt to the fast paced world of social media to survive, according to experts.
They also highlighted the need to study the rapid changes on how the Arab public absorbs information, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It was discussed by panellists - made up of international and regional journalists, media advisers and editors - at the first annual Arab Gulf Forum for Political Media, which was held at the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea and Spa yesterday.
Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa patronised the one-day event, which was organised by the Bahrain Institute for Political Development (BIPD) in association with the Bahrain Journalists Association (BJA) and the Bahraini Public Relations Society.
"We need to understand the new generation and the new patterns of information consumption so that we can understand how we can communicate better," said former BBC Middle East head and media adviser Husam Al Sukari.
"It's a question of survival.
"It's not a question of whether we should or shouldn't, traditional media has to adapt - we do this or we die."
He said that social media was adopted well in the Middle East because people used it as a platform to vent frustration that could not be expressed elsewhere.
"In terms of information exchange and debate and the way people use this as a platform to vent their frustration and anger to talk about issues they cannot discuss in traditional media formats," he said.
"People are using social media as a way to circumvent the blockage in the traditional media."
He said many individuals on social media networks were exceeding the popularity and distribution of long-established television channels and newspapers.
"These people are addressing issues people would like to be informed about," he said.
"They resonate in the community they are talking to, in ways that are much better than how traditional analysts and pundits write as columnists."
Al Watan columnist and Bahrain TV presenter Sawsan Al Sha'er said the conference was important, especially as a way to serve and benefit younger generations.
Arab Saudi Arab Society for Culture and Arts chairman and media adviser Sultan Al Bazighi said Gulf countries were moving forward in the field.
"We think there is a conviction that they will head towards evolution, not revolution," he said.
"This is natural; it creates a democratic, modern society based on discussion, and not a sectarian one." - TradeArabia News Service