<$BlogItemTitle$> <$BlogItemTitle$>Broadcasters of Tomorrow

Thursday, May 31, 2007

VIDEO: Arab Visa Card & Images of Makkah

Economic development in Dubai is fostering a consumer based society. We saw an ad for a “Makkah Visa” credit card, complete with images of Makkah, and decided to debate the issue. The Makkah Visa card rewards cardholders with the opportunity to earn ‘steps’ to travel to the Holy City of Makkah. For every AED 1.00 spent on the card, customers earn one ‘step.’ As well as marketing Makkah, ads featuring scantily clad women posing alongside mobile phones, jewelry and chocolates are everywhere in Dubai. How does all this square with the values of the region?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fire Photos from Abu Dhabi

The old wedding hall on the tip of Abu Dhabi's mainland caught fire early this evening. The hall, mostly made of wood, burned quickly and fire fighters had a difficult time containing the blaze. I was about to cross the bridge when I saw smoke. I only had a small camera with me and managed to take a few shots before security told me to stop. No word on what started the fire.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

VIDEO: Asking Alexandria Rocks Dubai!

Dubai emo rockers, Asking Alexandria, dropped into the studio and we filmed their live performance. They're about to start touring the UK and they're playing on MTV Europe's segment on Dubai. Not bad for a bunch of students from the UAE, one of whom attended The American University of Sharjah! AA on MySpace.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Saudi Arabia: Talk Radio & Free Speech

Salama al-Zaid's radio program is an example of the inevitable changes that occur as media in Saudi Arabia becomes more accessible. New York Times correspondent Hassan Fattah, who was a guest lecture in our broadcast journalism class, writes,"In recent years, King Abdullah has encouraged more open discussion, eased restrictions on women and put some restraints on the country’s dreaded vice police, in an attempt at social, if not political, change." More on al-Zaid and his "uncensored" program here. Also worth noting: the story was front and centre on the New York Times home page.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Arab TV: Are Young People Watching?

American University of Sharjah students made their mark at the Arab Broadcast Forum session about "reaching the Arab Youth on the Street.” LBC TV broadcast the debate hosted by the popular TV personality Shada Omar. It was agreed that new media has successfully reached Arab youth, while traditional media’s share of the youth market is declining.

An issue that has long been pondered is how to engage young viewers: are youth concerned with the current events? Are young people in Kuwait, for example, concerned about what’s happening in Lebanon? A group of us “youth” sat and listened as the panel wondered if we would rather be watching shows that deal with serious issues like unemployment and drug abuse or entertainment programs like Star Academy.

Amr Khaled, an Egyptian Televangelist, who insisted he isn’t a “media expert,” simply said that the youth are the most important viewers. If broadcasters want to reach the the youth they'll have to engage them with better programming.

AUS student Nasreen Abdulla asked the panel why there was such a gap between the youth and media companies. The main problem, according to most of the media experts present like Octavia Nasr, senior editor for Arab Affairs, CNN, is that youth are not represented on Arab media. Mohammed Yehia, interactivity editor, BBC Arabic website suggested that the youth make up the majority of the Arabic population. Therefore, they should be better represented and encouraged to get involved in current issues.

The panel closed with a poignant and political comment on the struggle Arab youth face to freely express themselves in the media. The comment from AUS student Ibrahim Haj Hamad recieved a hearty round of applause from from the audience and LBC TV's Shada Omar .

Blogging at the Arab Broadcast Forum

AUS Students attended the Arab Broadcast Forum in Abu Dhabi and blogged live from the event!
The forum was attended by media leaders from around the world.