Last updated: 12 May, 2015

Arab media forum opens in Dubai

The Arab Media Forum, the largest annual gathering of its kind, opened Tuesday in Dubai with lively debate on the future of the industry amid upheaval in the Middle East.

Attended by around 1,500 people, the forum began with Organisation of Islamic Cooperation chief Iyad Madani addressing the image of Muslims in the world, tarnished by a wave of extremist violence.

Madani pointed out that science and technology offered Muslims “new hope” and ensured “we should not fall under the illusion that we are disabled or incapable of doing anything”.

Debate focused on the political changes in the Middle East, in particular the impact of the Saudi-led military campaign against Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen.

Discussions also centred on the prospects of a final agreement being reached between world powers and Iran on its controversial nuclear programme, which its Gulf Arab neighbours fear.

Sessions were held on the changing landscape of media, technological innovation, social networks, the use of drones in journalism and the increasing importance of images.

Agence France-Presse is a partner of the two-day forum, which is in its 14th year.

It was inaugurated on Tuesday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.