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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Arab Media Forum hosts workshop on the growing phenomenon of blogging


The increase in the number of bloggers in the Arab world is a main reason for the evolution of the 'individual journalist' trend, a noticeable change in competition, accuracy and credibility in Arab Media.


Dr. Imad Basheir, the first branch Manager of the Media & Documentation College in Lebanon, speaking during a workshop at the Arab Media Forum in Dubai yesterday.

He kicked off the workshop with a speech that outlined the history of communication and the different phases that have resulted in the interactive media phase that the world is witnessing today, and the morph of the global audience to an information audience and the media to an interactive media.
The workshop discussed the phenomena of bloggers and the changes in Arab Media that have resulted from this phenomenon. During this workshop, issues such as freedom of expression, blogger identities and their effect on public opinion and other media channels were discussed.

Basheir added that the number of Arab bloggers was still relatively low, due mainly to reluctance to exercise free speech, poverty and illiteracy levels, high cost of telecommunications and the lack of proper infrastructure to sustain them.

Anisa Al Sharif, a blogger from the United Arab Emirates, then went on to explain some background information and history of blogs.

Al Sharif gave live examples of how effective the Arab bloggers have been in affecting contemporary media and journalism - as well as statistics about the number of blogs in the world.

Mahmood Al Yousef, a blogger from the Kingdom of Bahrain stated that, 'In the present time - bloggers do not compete with traditional media, but rather complement them. That however, is subject to change once people start to have more trust and these blogs gain more credibility. Implementing new multimedia methods, such as video and audio, will also increase the competition between the two.'

Al Yousef also explained the reasons behind the tendency of Arab bloggers to hide their real identity - a trend that he believes will also change in the future once the Arab media landscape starts to change.

The workshop was concluded with a question and answer session where subjects such as freedom of speech, credibility and relationship with traditional media were debated.

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