Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, Sharjah Media Centre announced the launch of the Sharjah Government Communication Award, a pioneering initiative to improve effectiveness of the media and government communication in the GCC region.
As a first-of-its-kind award in the region, the inaugural edition will be held in the fourth quarter of 2013. The award will accept submissions from across the Gulf region from 23rd September 2012 – September 2013.
The announcements were made at a press conference by His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre, and Osama Samra, Director of Sharjah Media Centre. Heldat the Al Qasba Theatre, the media briefing was attended by senior government officials,heads of government media departments, as well as leading local and regional media representatives.
Addressing the press conference, His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi said: “Today, we are pleased to share with you the launch of a new and first-of-its-kind initiative in the region – the Sharjah Government Communication Award. This platform has been designed under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
“The award builds upon our commitment to improveresponsibility, professionalism and transparency in communication within the GCC countries,and serves the interest of the public.This objective is based on the complementary role that government communication plays in conjunction with the media.”
The award will feature three groups comprising 11 categories. The first group will be given away on the basis of the nominations and votes received by the independent management committee. It includes the ‘GCC Countries Lifetime Media Achievement Award’, ‘GCC Media Milestone Award’, ‘Sharjah Government Spokesperson of the Year Award’ and the ‘SharjahMost Informative Government Website Award’.
The second group will be awarded through nomination by a Government Peer and voted for by the jury panel. Itincludes two categories: ‘Award for Excellence in Government Communications, Sharjah’, and ‘Sharjah Young Journalist of the Year Award’
The third group with five categories applies to UAE residents only. The categories are self-nominated by independent entrants and voted for by the jury panel. Categories are ‘UAE Best Image Use of the Year Award’, ‘UAE Social Commentary Columnist, Blogger of the Year Award, ‘Best UAE Reportage Coverage of the Year Award, ‘The Most informative UAE TV Programme of the Year Award’ and the ‘Best UAE Topical Radio Programme of the Year Award’.
Osama Samra, Director of Sharjah Media Centre, stated: “The award will strengthen the centre’s role as the voice and pulse ofSharjah. It will also reiterate the centre’s status as theofficial conduit responsible for media and communication activities and establish an intellectual flagship event in the region. We look at the award as a very important opportunity to provide a platform for the motivation and exchange of bestpractices in government communications in the GCC countries and for those working to build and shape our future.
“Additionally, the award will initiate the establishment of an integrated and balanced system of government communications, and allow an effective response system to media, ensure transparency and accuracy of information, and streamline the government’s messages addressing the media.”
The press conference also announced the jury panel members for the award comprising Dr.Adul Rahman Azzi, Dean of Communications College, University of Sharjah; Dr. Abdullah Jawdat Rizkallah, Founding Member and CEO of Al Risalah Satellite Channel; Dr.Rajeh Al Khouri, Editorial Board Member at Al-Nahar Newspaper; Rawan Al Damen, Senior Producer and Director at the Programmes Department, Al Jazeera News Channel; Ibrahim Al-Abed, Director General of the National Media Council and Director General of the Emirates News Agency (WAM),and Mahmoud Abdul Hadi, Founder and Director General of Al-Shurooq Channel.
Before joining SME Advisor, I worked as a producer/reporter for Forbes Media in New York. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and International Studies at the University of South Florida in the US. I am currently in Dubai working as Sub-Editor for SME Advisor Middle East, which is a business magazine published by CPI. You can follow me on Twitter: @joumanasaad or @SMEadvisorME and (Joumana Saad) or (SME Advisor) on LinkedIn.