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Credibility key to WAM’s growth
February 07, 2018
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ABU DHABI: Mohammed Jalal Al Raisi, Executive Director of the Emirates News Agency, WAM, has highlighted the agency’s desire to keep pace with new media technologies and comply with the latest developments without compromising its credibility, as one of the key principles that keeps it closer to the people, despite the overcrowded nature of the media sector.

During a lecture, titled, ‘WAM: The Trusted Source’, organised by the Mohammed Khalaf Council in Al Karama, Abu Dhabi, the Executive Director addressed the relationship between the traditional media and new communication tools while stressing that this relationship should be integrated, to limit the chaos of fake news and prevent the spread of rumours, as well as promote credibility to distinguish between true and fake news among varied public news content. Credibility should be the goal of any media outlet that aims to succeed and maintain its public image, and WAM has been working hard to strengthen this approach for over 40 years, he added.

The lecture was attended by Major General Faris Fares Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Festival and Cultural and Heritage Programmes Committee in Abu Dhabi; Issa Al Mazrouei, Vice Chairman of the Festival and Cultural and Heritage Programmes Committee in Abu Dhabi; Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Director of Heritage Activities, and Abdullah Butti Al Qubaisi, Director of the Events and Communication Administration at the Committee, as well as many local residents and visiting intellectuals, writers, poets and journalists.

Al Raisi explained that the relationship between traditional media and new methods of communication has reached a state of integration as their current focus is on the content, which makes a difference in terms of good and bad material, especially as social media makes up 70 percent of available information and news being circulated in the community, reflecting its importance.

“We are witnessing the birth of new forms and methods in the digital news industry, including audio-visual and text materials, as well as the rise of the citizen journalist phenomenon, and these anonymous sources require content verification. We have managed to overcome the major challenges facing new media through a range of governing principles, including verifying sources of information and the way they are presented to the public,” he continued.

Al Raisi noted that the integration of new methods of communication should not involve being dragged into matters outside the framework of professional work, which media institutions are committed to.

He also pointed out that social media and its derivative digital media outlets are a natural progression of the traditional media. “However, we must differentiate between digital media and social media, as the media industry depends on institutional organisation while social media outlets are not subject to any rules or regulation that support the verification of circulated content,” he emphasised.

He also explained that social media should be regarded as a means of circulating and interacting with the news and not as a source while noting that technological development is faster than professional development. Therefore, the media has to improve and diversify content by adopting advanced technology and developing its work, he stressed.

“The Emirates News Agency has a long history of credibility over many generations. Therefore, WAM is closer to the public and is becoming even closer when the public returns to it to verify rumours circulated via social media. We are continuing our journey, adding to what we have built, and coping with ongoing developments in digital and traditional media,” he said.

Al Raisi affirmed the desire of WAM to continuously improve its media content standards, by expanding its coverage of local, Arab and international news and analysing the various aspects of every event while maintaining its standards of credibility.

He went on to say that WAM depends to a large extent on and employs social media and smart applications in terms of live coverage to involve the public through live news feeds, which helps it to strengthen its image among various Arab and international news agencies.

“The major challenge of the audience having direct access is something that WAM has managed to overcome, as it has changed its working philosophy from a traditional news agency to one that directly interacts with the public,” Al Raisi explained.

He noted that WAM’s participation in the lecture highlights the importance of direct interaction with the public while stressing that its efforts to keep pace with the latest news developments and media technology is part of its strategic plans, under the framework of the country’s directives, to preserve its achievements.

The Executive Director affirmed that WAM has progressed beyond its previous methods of covering events, by using its smart applications, such as the ‘WAM Editor’ and ‘WAM App’, which allow its journalists to share the news from anywhere in the world through smartphones or tablets with flexibility, guaranteeing rapid editing and broadcasting. WAM also launched its news service in six languages, to continue its 41-year development, he added.

Al Raisi also highlighted the agency’s desire to develop its human resources, to enable them to work effectively and with professionalism. He also presented the agency’s key development projects and its success in establishing a wide network of strategic partnerships with many official authorities, to strengthen their co-operation and enable the agency to widen its scope of news and information from correct and authorised sources, enhancing the credibility of its digital content.

At the start of the lecture, which was moderated by Ahmed Al Sayed, a presenter at the Sky News Arabia, Al Raisi praised the role of councils and their efforts to encourage direct interactions between various segments of the community.

At the end of the lecture, Al Raisi answered questions from the audience and received a shield of honour from the Festivals, Cultural and Heritage Programmes Committee, presented to him by Major General Al Mazrouei.


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