Media's Role in Preserving National Identity Stressed

  • 25 October 2011

The media has a huge responsibility in forming consensus to preserve the national identity and strengthen the values and positive trends among citizens.

This was stated by Shaikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Chairman of the National Media Council, while inaugurating the one-day ‘Media and National Identity Forum’ at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research in the Capital on Monday.

Shaikh Hamdan urged the media to play broader roles in preserving the national identity of the UAE. “It’s the media that can play a vital role in drilling national identity into the minds of nationals and cement it along with all of its tools,” he said.

“The main purpose of this forum is to emphasise the role of media in strengthening national identity. I am confident that this forum would come out with initiatives to guarantee it.”

A number of guests from the GCC countries, experts, researchers, media professionals and academics took part in the forum and shared their opinions on the functioning of the media and their role in promotion of national identity.

The forum coincides with the 40th UAE National Day celebrations, which gives all a chance to interact with this national cause in the context of the development process.

“This topic had been of a great importance in the UAE in the past few years since the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, declared 2008 as the UAE national identity year for inculcating the understanding and values of our national identity and work for its preservation,” Shaikh Hamdan said.

In his welcoming speech, Dr Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi, director-general of the ECSSR, said, “Owing to the close correlation between national identity and the narrative of the media, it has become the responsibility of the media, in all its forms, to champion national identity and support citizenship in its national dialogue and select content that strengthens the foundation of nation identity in the Gulf society.

“The media has also taken on the responsibility of undertaking concerted efforts to eliminate all forms of westernisation and face all challenges to national identity.”

Dr Saad Al Ajmi, academic advisor at the University of Kuwait, said, “If the media takes this responsibility, I don’t think that there is any real danger to the Arab identity in spite of the openness of the Gulf countries.”

To a question, Al Ajmi said, “The effects of social media are yet to be seen as they are relatively young. It is a revolution in terms of people’s ability to interact and express their thoughts and it’s beyond any kind of control.

“My only worry is with the use of Latin letters by some younger generations to write Arabic. I think this is a phase that would have to go away soon.”