Arab Media Forum 2016 | Covering the Mideast beyond ‘bombs & bullets’


I have once again been invited to moderate a session at the 15th edition of the Arab Media Forum held every year in May – to this I am very thankful. Because not only do I get to meet professionals in their respected fields of experties, I also learn from them.

This year, I was asked to moderate the session  “Covering the Middle East in the decade ahead and the impact of digital on journalism practices” with speakers: Ian Phillips (AP’s Middle East News Director) and Othman Al Omeir (Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Elaph E-Newspaper).

This is such an interesting topic as it tickled my thoughts into asking whether us journalists are reduced to simple verification in the era when citizen journalists are able to cover, investigate and disseminate news themselves – thanks of course to smart phones and social media (which are improved for user experience every year I must say).

Here is Othman’s answer to my question: “I wouldn’t go so far as to saying that, and I don’t see it as a threat. It is part of what we do and we can’t be everywhere. There was a time when an international media organization we felt that we owned breaking news. But we can’t be everywhere anymore. We, and everybody, knows it and we use the resources at hand.”

We also tackled the relevance of news agencies in 10 years time, I asked Ian and this is what he has to say in three words: “More than ever.”

I honestly believe that media will survive the times – question here is what form will it take in the years to come?