UAE plans to Emiratize the media
“We should not favour Emiratis over qualified foreign journalists,” said Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, chairman of Sharjah Media Corporation.
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The UAE is planning to launch new initiatives to facilitate Emirati recruitment and increase the level of nationalisation in the media industry, according to Ibrahim Al Abed, director-general of the National Media Council.
“We are undertaking a major initiative to boost emiratisation in the media sector including holding open days for recruitment by major media organisations with the support of journalists’ associations where students can interact with recruiters and understand their requirements,” he said.“As part of the initiatives, we are also planning to send journalism graduates for higher studies abroad who can then enrich the local media industry with international expertise. Additionally, we will launch incentive programmes to attract Emirati talent to the media industry with the help of the government bodies and the media institutions.”
Speaking at the Emirati Media Forum, Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, UAE’s minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Federal National Council Affairs, said emiratisation in the country’s media sector stands at a little over 25 per cent, which makes nationalisation an important policy objective and a “responsibility”. But Gargash said that they face a number of challenges in implementing emiratisation measures in the media sector.“Some feel that a quota system should be implemented as in the banking sector, but that has not been welcomed by the Federal National Council because there are many other sectors where the share of Emiratis is still very low and which need more focus.”
However experts at the forum said that quality of the candidates should remain key.“We should not favour Emiratis over qualified foreign journalists,” said Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, chairman of Sharjah Media Corporation.“We need to develop quality journalists by first offering them professional training and help them develop expertise before pushing for emiratisation. We also need foreign journalists to train the young Emirati media graduates and infuse skills within them so that they could become good and professional journalists.”
Sami Al Qamzi, director-general of the Department of Economic Development and vice-chairman of Dubai Media Incorporated, also emphasised the importance of maintaining the quality of Emiratis in the media sector before delving into full-fledged emiratisation measures.“We need to talk about the quality of emiratisation rather than the quantity. We should also look at the quality of works by the Emirati media professionals.”
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