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Sharjah Chosen Capital of Arab Press for 2016

United Arab Media Council, the pan-Arab body, has chosen Sharjah as the Capital of Arab Press for Year 2016, it was announced today (Monday, February 22).  The announcement came after a meeting of the General Secretariat of the United Arab Media Council (UAMC) in Amman, Jordan and the decision was based on a number of benchmarks, including a vibrant media environment in the emirate, the establishment of the Sharjah Media City (SMC) Free Zone and the promotion of cultural and intellectual content of media material, and above all, the strategic support of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, for many of the media initiatives and creative projects in the emirate. 


“Today, Sharjah is elected as the capital of Arab Press, succeeding the capitals that have been elected in the previous years (Manama 2012, Riyadh 2013 and Jerusalem 2014-15,” said a statement by the UAMC General Secretariat in Amman, Jordan.


Welcoming the UAMC announcement, HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Corporation and Sharjah Media Centre congratulated His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah on the emirate earning itself yet another feather in its cap.  “This is the 4th international title for Sharjah in 40 years, after UNESCO’S Cultural Capital of the Arab World Award in 1998, OIC’s Capital of Islamic Culture Award for 2014 and the Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015 Award. And this is entirely because of the relentless efforts by the emirate in implementing the vision and directives of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, bolstering Sharjah’s position as a vibrant centre of culture and media,” said Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qasimi.  


He said the honour of Capital of Arab Press marks a huge achievement by the Sharjah Media Corporation and Sharjah Media Centre, the media and communication arm of the Government of Sharjah and the regulator of media activities in the emirate. 


The Chairman of the Sharjah Media Corporation and Sharjah Media Centre also announced the launch of grand celebrations next month marking the emirate’s proud inheritance of the Capital of Arab Press mantle from Jerusalem, the occupied capital of Palestine. 


Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qasimi asserted that selection of Sharjah as the Capital of Arab Press for Year 2016 was the right and appropriate choice considering the pride of place emirate enjoys as a centre of media in the Arab world and the ceaseless efforts of HH the Ruler of Sharjah over the years to promote Sharjah as a major cultural project and a media destination that hosts top scholars, intellectuals and writers from across the Arab world.


He emphasised that the freedom that the media enjoys in Sharjah and the legal safeguards and investment opportunities that are offered to private sector stakeholders in print and electronic media in the emirate were part of the criteria that earned the emirate the coveted honour. 


Congratulating HH the Ruler of Sharjah on the Award, HE Haitham Youssef, Secretary General of the UAMC said that the remarkable growth that Sharjah has registered in the media sector, especially what has been achieved by the Sharjah Media Corporation and Sharjah Media Centre under the guidance of HH the Ruler of Sharjah, had helped the emirate earn this honour. 


He said he would be honoured to pass on the banner of Sharjah the Capital of Arab Press 2016 from Jerusalem, the capital of occupied Palestine, to His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, on March 20th, 2016, on the sidelines of the International Government Communication Forum in Sharjah, organised annually by Sharjah Media Center.  On this occasion, UAMC Secretary General also revealed the motto of Sharjah the Capital of the Arab Press for 2016, which is “My culture is the essence of my profession – Media is the foundation of Society.” 


The UAMC is an independent, non-profit body that seeks to build bonds of cooperation and coordination between Arab media professionals.  


Sharjah boasts a long and proud history of vibrant media.  It was in Sharjah that Ibrahim Mohammed Al Midfa launched the first newspaper in 1927. Titled Oman, it was handwritten.  In 1961, the first stencilled newspaper Al Diyar was published.  In 1970, Al Khaleej, today the largest Arabic daily in the UAE and the region, was launched by brothers Taryam Omran and Abdullah.  Sout Al Sahel, Sharjah Radio, was launched in 1972.  Again it was in Sharjah that the first television network was launched in 1989.  Today, Sharjah boasts a rich media environment and is home to a number of electronic and print media outlets including Sharjah TV, Al Sharqiya from Kalba, Sharjah Sports and Al Quran al Kareem Radio etc.


Sharjah Media Centre (SMC) was founded in 2011 as the media and communication arm of the Government of Sharjah and transformed the government and media communication in the emirate. 


In 2015, HH the Ruler of Sharjah issued a decree setting up the Sharjah Media City Free Zone which is aimed at developing and encouraging media talent and professionals in the media sector according to highest international standards.  

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