Media’s Vital Role in Building National Identity Emphasised

  • 25 October 2011

The media has a key role in boosting the UAE's national identity through inculcating and infusing the spirit of loyalty and belonging to its culture, heritage and citizenship among every member of the community, a forum was told yesterday.

The final goal is to groom a generation that firmly believes in national identity, prudent leadership, Arab culture, Islamic faith and its glorious history, stressed participants in the Media and National Identity Forum organised by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies (ECSSR) and Research in cooperation with the National Media Council and the Journalists' Association.

"National identity has been one of the top priorities of the UAE under the leadership of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who declared 2008 as the year of national identity," said Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Public Works, who is also Chairman of the National Media Council.

Shaikh Hamdan said the UAE has succeeded in embracing the latest advances while maintaining its cultural identity and heritage.

"The fact that this forum coincides with the 40th UAE National Day celebrations gives us all a chance to view this national cause in the context of the overall development process," said Shaikh Hamdan.

Dr. Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi, Director General of the ECSSR, said Westernisation has become a characteristic of many societies, directly affecting national identity and citizenship and therefore weakening loyalty to the state and the sense of national belonging.

The conference, which seeks to promote national identity, history and culture among Emiratis, offered a platform for Emirati and Gulf academics and media professionals to exchange views on the best ways to further boost national identity.

In its four sessions, the forum discussed issues related to the role of the media in influencing the level of awareness of national identity in the UAE. These issues include media and identity in the era of globalisation, national identity in the UAE media, institutional and individual experiences in promoting national identity in the media, and the GCC media's experience in spreading awareness of a cultural and national identity.

Dr. Fatima Al Sayegh, associate professor, Department of History and Archaeology at the UAE University, said the UAE's national identity is threatened by the various cultures and identities of 200 nationalities living in the country and programmes on satellite television channels.