Difficulties in covering the Middle East in the age of social networks dominated debates as the Arab Media Forum, the largest annual media gathering in the Arab world, ended Wednesday in Dubai.
Participants in the forum, which brought together some 1,500 professionals over two days, discussed the future of journalism as traditional media face increasing competition from digital news providers and deal with the proliferation of information — often difficult to verify — on the Internet.
Discussions also focused on the language used by media, including how to refer to the Islamic State jihadist group that has seized control of large parts of Syria and Iraq.
Participating in a debate with New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, AFP global news director Michele Leridon explained the agency’s policy of referring to IS as a “group” or “organisation” and not simply as “the Islamic State”.
“It is not a state and it is not a representation of Islam,” Leridon said.