“If govern­ments do not al­low healthy de­bate ... there is a dan­ger [so­cial me­dia] may be mis­used and abused by some.”

SHEIKH SUL­TAN BIN AHMED AL QASIMI, Chair of Shar­jah Me­dia Coun­cil.

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE - By Austyn Al­li­son

On March 22-23, Shar­jah will host the In­ter­na­tional Gov­ern­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Fo­rum. Speak­ers will in­clude Horst Köh­ler, former pres­i­dent of Ger­many and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the IMF, and Al Gore, the former vice-pres­i­dent of the US.

Ahead of the event, Sheikh Sul­tan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, chair­man of the Shar­jah Me­dia Coun­cil, told

Cam­paign: “Un­der the theme ‘So­ci­etal Par­tic­i­pa­tion; Com­pre­hen­sive Devel­op­ment,’ the de­fin­i­tive global fo­rum will ex­am­ine ways of util­is­ing gov­ern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tion to serve the UN sus­tain­able devel­op­ment goals ( SDGs) that have be­come the top pri­or­ity of gov­ern­ment pro­grammes, in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions, me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions and civil so­ci­ety.”

He con­tin­ued: “Im­ple­men­ta­tion will re­quire dra­matic changes within a rel­a­tively short time­frame and a great deal of fi­nan­cial re­sources and in­fra­struc­ture. This is where gov­ern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tion comes in. To de­liver change to all stake­hold­ers, it is cru­cial that govern­ments com­mu­ni­cate clearly and con­stantly with their peo­ple, who are the ul­ti­mate stake­hold­ers and tar­get for this global agenda for growth.”

He said that to achieve the SDGs, govern­ments must part­ner with pri­vate en­ti­ties, NGOs and other or­gan­i­sa­tions. “Sub­se­quently, they must com­mu­ni­cate the suc­cess­ful re­sults of th­ese col­lab­o­ra­tions to the public through care­fully planned cam­paigns.” This will serve to en­cour­age “a domino ef­fect” of fur­ther public in­volve­ment.

So­cial me­dia pre­sents govern­ments with an op­por­tu­nity and a chal­lenge, he says, and no gov­ern- ment can af­ford to ig­nore it as a tool to con­nect with its peo­ple or any other au­di­ence within sec­onds.

But he cau­tions: “At the same time, if govern­ments do not al­low healthy de­bate and free ex­change of views among their cit­i­zens and do not en­gage them through feed­back, di­a­logue and in other ways, there is a dan­ger that some of th­ese chan­nels may be mis­ued and abused by some.”

Of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s use of so­cial me­dia, Sheikh Sul­tan says: “You may not al­ways agree with some of his views, but that is be­side the point. What is re­mark­able is how he has suc­cess­fully used so­cial me­dia both for his elec­toral suc­cess and now as the leader of the world’s most pow­er­ful na­tion.”

Sheikh Sul­tan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi: Chair­man of the Shar­jah Me­dia Coun­cil

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.